Simple Panzer Grenadier is a new game using the Avalanche Press games in the series of the same name. Many features of the original are used unchanged, but others have been altered significantly, and it is best to think of the new system as a different game in its own right, and to approach it as such.
For those who want these rules in a single separate document, here is the whole thing in one Word file – Simple Panzer Grenadier Rules
The main aim of the redesign is to speed play and to make the fights more decisive, more rapidly. Combat in Simple Panzer Grenadier is considerably bloodier than in the original. There are fewer modifiers and variations for combat, smaller stacks and less board clutter, no leader counters or complex rules associated with them. All the original components are used, including all of the existing combat results tables, but with different modifiers, procedures, and meanings for each of the different table results. Some specific unit values have also been changed for historical realism reasons, a subject covered in its own section at the end of these rules.
Sequence of play
Simple Panzer Grenadier is played in turns, each of which is divided into distinct phases. The most important phase each turn is the action phase, when players move their units and conduct attacks on enemy units. The action phase is divided into any number of impulses, varying each turn.
The most important thing about a full turn is that it is the time period in which all units are readied again and thus able to conduct further actions. A unit can only conduct one action per full game turn, though certain enemy actions may give them a further opportunity to fight without conducting their own action (see Assault and Overrun below). Only one player has the initiative for a full game turn, and reinforcements arrive only on new full game turns. At the end of each full game turn, there may be a check for victory in scenarios that can end before their time limit – which is also always set in full turns.
Each scenario specifies a maximum number of turns, and the victory phase of the final turn ends the game. Some scenarios will provide earlier victory conditions which are checked in the victory phase of each turn. If any such “sudden death” victory conditions have not been met at the end of any turn before the last, advance the turn marker one turn and play proceeds to the next turn’s Refresh phase.
- Refresh phase
- Initiative phase
- Reinforcement phase
- Action phase
- Initiative player first action impulse
- First reaction impulse
- Initiative player second action impulse
- Second reaction impulse
- (as many more as needed)
- Victory phase
In the refresh phase, all spent units are made ready again. Mark a unit as spent by rotating it 90 degrees after it has completed its action, or become spent for any other reason given in the rules (e.g. passenger dropped off during its carrier’s movement action). Mark a unit ready again by rotating it back to its original orientation. Note that there is no “facing” of units in Simple Panzer Grenadier (AT Fire may be affected by a “flanking” bonus, see AT Fire modifiers section, but those modifiers determined by their own causes), so the only use made of the orientation of the counters is to mark units as Ready or Spent.
We advise that each player adopt an orientation for his ready units along one of the hex grains, facing toward his opponent at the start of the game, and keep all his Ready units in that orientation. Whenever a unit is instead facing a hex spine, it is clear that it is Spent.
In addition, in the Refresh phase, any towed gun unit that was dropped off as a passenger in the previous game turn on its “T” side, is flipped to its “deployed” face up side, as well as rotated to Ready. Gun units being transported by vehicles must always be on their T “towed” side, but are flipped to that side automatically whenever a transport unit pays the movement cost to load that gun as a passenger.
Mortar units on their “packed up”, moving side may be flipped to their “deployed”, ready to fire side at their owner’s option. Next, any mortar unit currently on its “deployed”, ready to fire side may flip to its “packed up”, moving side during the refresh phase. The player with the initiative the previous turn makes all such decisions first. Mortar units transported by vehicles are always flipped to their “packed up”, moving side. To move them at their faster “packed” movement rate under their own power, however, they must have been previously flipped to that status during a refresh phase. A mortar unit just dropped off by a vehicle may choose to remain in “packed up” status to move under its own power in the coming turn.
Note that the refresh phase is the only time when recently moved gun and mortar units can flip to their deployed, ready to fire side. There will not be any opportunity to do so during the Action phase.
In the initiative phase, players randomly determine who will have initiative for the remainder of this game turn. Each player rolls 2d6 and totals the result. The higher roll has the initiative. Ties leave initiative in the same hands it rested on the previous game turn. Scenario special rules may modified the determination of initiative or automatically grant one side the initiative on turn 1, or both. In some scenarios, initiative automatically remains with a certain side until some triggering event occurs. In such cases, Initiative is only determined in the first turn following the occurrence of any such triggering event.
Any reinforcements scheduled to arrive on the current game turn appear in this phase. The initiative player always places his reinforcements first. Some scenarios feature variable arrival times for some or all reinforcements. Any random determination of such arrivals is done now, initiative player first. If multiple groups have to determine arrival on the same turn, the player receiving the reinforcements determines the order of resolution of each of his groups. Arriving units are always in a Ready state, undisrupted, and guns and mortars always arrive on their limbered or “packed up” side. Gun units with 0 movement allowance must be loaded onto an eligible vehicle.
Reinforcement phase arrival mechanics
Reinforcements may arrive in either of two ways – line arrival or column arrival. Normally the scenario specifies the form of arrival for each group, but if it neglects to do so, any arrival that specifies a single entry hex is considered a column arrival and any arrival that specifies full board edges (one or many) is a line arrival reinforcement.
Line arrival reinforcements
A line arrival reinforcement group enters the map along a specified board edge, or occasionally by special rule at a specific map interior location. All arriving units must be placed in the specified locations, using partial edge hexes which are fully playable map locations for all game purposes. Stacking limits must be observed at all times. Some line reinforcement areas may specific hex number ranges or distances that must be observed by all arriving units e.g. on the east edge of board 33 within 4 hexes of 33I10. If the full reinforcement does not fit within stacking limits and the entry area specified, as much of the reinforcement group as will fit must be entered on the scheduled turn. All remaining elements of the reinforcement become a line reinforcement arriving the following turn with the same entry location. Repeat this process as needed until all units have arrived or the scenario ends, whichever comes first.
Column arrival reinforcements
A column arrival reinforcement group enters the map through a single specified hex, or occasionally a single hex chosen at the moment of its arrival by the player receiving that reinforcement group. The receiving player places a single vehicle unit, with or without passengers, or a single leg unit with movement allowance greater than 0, in the designated entry hex. All other units in the arriving group must be arranged off the map in a single column order behind this lead unit. Vehicles may be carrying passengers, but no other form of stacking is allowed. These elements of the column can only enter the map by using a “move” action, and are considered to have moved through as many hexes as their position back in the column before entering the board edge hex. The imaginary hexes moved through this way are considered to have the same terrain as the entry hex, including any road. If any of the units cannot reach the map in a single turn, they all appear as a new column reinforcement with the same entry hex the following turn.
If the arrival hex of a column reinforcement is physically occupied by any enemy unit on the turn of its scheduled arrival, that column reinforcement is automatically delayed by one game turn, and arrives as a “line” reinforcement group the following turn. Its entry area extends to 5 hexes from its original column entry hex along each board edge, including any map edge corners.
The main activity of the turn and game occurs in the Action phase. Details are given below, but roughly, one player will be active at each time and choosing units to move and fight with. The first active player is always the Initiative player for the current turn, as determined earlier in the turn.
During the action phase, at any given point in time one of the two players will be the active player and the other player the inactive player. The active player chooses actions for his units to perform, resolves them, and may continue to choose new units to perform new actions until they relinquish control to the other player. Transfer of control is not a change in the initiative; it is “local in time” within the action phase of a single game turn. Control may pass back and forth many times in a single action phase. Each change in control ends one impulse and begins the next. There may be any number of impulses in the full action phase for a single game turn, depending on the choices made by the players as they conduct their Actions, and also depending on random Reaction determinations (see Reaction section below). The full Action phase only ends when both players in succession have Passed (see below).
A player who has performed any action with at least one unit as the active player may voluntarily relinquish control to the other player after any completed action. He simply declares that he does not wish to activate any additional units just now, and the option to activate units for all sorts of actions passes to his opponent, who becomes the active player in a new impulse.
Various combat events can trigger a Reaction, which is an involuntary transfer of control. The triggers are described in detail below, but normally are associated with unsuccessful active player attacks or successful inactive player fire. When a Reaction has been triggered, the active player completes any action in progress normally, and then control automatically passes to the previously inactive player. He is the new active player in a new impulse, and may choose to activate any units for any actions he likes. His own actions may in turn trigger Reaction events and force him to return control to his opponent, and so on.
If a player has the option to activate units, doing so is always voluntary. If a player relinquishes control without having performed a single action with any of his units, he thereby Passes. Note that merely handing over control, including voluntarily, is not a Pass. A Pass occurs only when a player became the active player for whatever reason and choose not to activate any of his units.
If both players Pass in succession, the action phase immediately ends. Play proceeds to the Victory phase of the current game turn. Either player may Pass as many times as he likes and may activate later after having previously passed, assuming his opponent continues to take actions, thereby continuing the action phase. Eventually, both players will be forced to pass, if for no other reason because they will have no unspent (“ready”) units remaining.
Combat determinations may trigger an involuntary change in control – this is called Reaction.
Whenever the active player rolls a natural 7 for any Direct Fire, Bombardment Fire, Assault, or Overrun attack that he is conducting, or rolls a natural 2, 3, or 4 for any AT Fire resolution, a reaction is triggered. Note that these are the worst rolls on the respective combat tables, and either has a 1/6 chance of occurring on any given combat resolution. Unsuccessful attacks therefore tend to trigger Reaction events.
Whenever the inactive player rolls a natural 2, 3, 11 or 12 on any Opportunity Fire Direct Fire attack, defensive first fire vs any Assault or Overrun, or rolls a natural 10, 11, or 12 on an Opportunity Fire AT Fire attack, a reaction is triggered. Note that these are the best rolls on the respective combat tables, and either has a 1/6 chance of occurring whenever the inactive player fires at the active player, so successful defensive fire also tends to trigger Reaction events.
Any reaction triggers after the first on the same action are ignored. Whenever a reaction is triggered, the active player concludes the present action and marks any units taking part in that action spent, then control automatically passes to the previously inactive player, who becomes the new active player for the next action.
Rally attempts never trigger a reaction, regardless of the rolls or results.
Notice that certain actions are effectively more likely to trigger a reaction than others, simply because more chances will arise in an Assault on a stack which can conduct Defensive first fire against multiple attacking hexes, for example, than in a simple Bombardment Fire attack. Also notice that the active player cannot avoid all enemy reactions by just moving and not firing, if the inactive player is able to interrupt those moves with Opportunity fire. Any number of moves out of sight or range of Ready enemy units capable of conducting such Opportunity fire could be conducted without any fear of triggering a Reaction.
The reaction mechanic implies that if the active player simply tries to shoot all of his units in succession, in a situation in which both sides have good shots, he will likely only get off a moderate number before his opponent starts replying.
Basic unit types, values, and abilities
Both players have combat units of various types. A unit may fall into several of the following game categories, which have distinct effects describe in the relevant sections of these rules.
Vehicles – all tanks, halftracks, trucks, jeeps with a vehicle icon on the counter are Vehicles. The only exception is aircraft, which are special bombardment units but are not considered vehicles.
Armed vehicles – tanks, SP guns, halftracks and the like with any combat ratings are armed vehicles. Trucks, jeeps and the like with only a movement allowance on the counter are unarmed vehicles.
Armored vehicles – Any vehicle with a red boxed Armor rating is an armored vehicle. This includes some vehicles with an armor rating of 0; they are lightly armored but still armored, and receive all of the benefits of armor protection accorded to all armored vehicles.
Unarmored vehicles – Any vehicle without an armor rating (even 0) is an unarmored vehicle. Unarmored vehicles have many restrictions – they may not spot for other units conducting Bombardment Fire, they may not move adjacent to any enemy unit, they may not conduct Overrun actions. These restrictions apply even if the unit is armed (e.g. some jeeps equipped with machineguns get small Direct Fire values).
Open topped armored vehicles – Armored vehicles without full overhead cover are more vulnerable to Bombardment Fire and in Assault combat. Each unit type either has full overhead protection or it doesn’t. All halftracks, most SPA and SPAT, US Tank Destroyers, AA vehicles, and some armored car types are open topped.
Closed armored vehicles – any armored vehicle that is not open topped is a closed armored vehicle, and benefits from additional protection vs Bombardment Fire and Assault combat.
Soft units – all non-vehicle units and all vehicles without an armor rating are soft targets. Soft targets are fully affected by Direct Fire and Bombardment combat results.
Mounted units – cavalry and motorcycle recon are mounted units. While faster than leg infantry, they are more vulnerable to Direct and Bombardment Fire and receive fewer benefits from protecting terrain than dismounted infantry units. Cavalry units may conduct Overrun actions like armored vehicles, but motorcycle recon units may not. Motorcycle recon units may, however, conduct Assault actions like ordinary infantry platoons. They are treated as normal infantry unit when doing so, and do not suffer from the Mounted target unit penalty during Defensive first fire.
Leg units – all non-vehicle units that are not Mounted are leg units. This includes gun and artillery units with a movement allowance of 0, which may not move on their own. They are still considered leg units because their personnel are dismounted, move under their own power, seek cover in the same way, etc.
Gun units – Any units with a gun icon and a movement allowance of 0 is a Gun type unit. This includes artillery, AT, AA, rockets, etc. Gun units require a transport vehicle to move and have different spotting characteristics than other Leg units. They are easier to spot than infantry units, sharing a category with Mounted units – see the Spotting Range rules.
Artillery units – A gun unit with a Bombardment strength rating (white numbers) is an Artillery unit. They may have other combat ratings as well (normally AT Fire ratings), or they may not (e.g. Rockets). Artillery unit may also appear off board in many scenarios, and can conduct Bombardment Fire spotted for by on-map units from beyond the confines of the map. They become Spent and Ready normally in their off map location. They are not subject to enemy attack of any kind when not on the map. Artillery units are subject to ammo limits, which may remove them from the game after certain fire attacks as out of ammo within the time limits of the scenario.
Infantry units – ordinary infantry, SMG infantry, and engineers are Infantry units. Infantry units are capable of Assault attack and participate in Assault defense with their full rated firepower. Motorcycle recon units become infantry units for purposes of Assault actions, only, on both attack and defense (they are considered to have dismounted for the purpose).
HMG units – Units with the NATO heavy weapons infantry icon are HMG units. While in most respects ordinary Leg units, HMG units may not initiate or take part in Assault actions on the attacking side. They fight with 1/2 their rated firepower, fractions round down, in Assault and Overrun combat defensively.
Mortar units – Mortar icon units have only Bombardment combat ratings. Some may have non-zero movement allowance while heavy mortars may have a 0 movement allowance. They are still not considered Guns, and share the spotting characteristics of infantry and HMG units. Mortar units have no Assault or Overrun combat capability, on attack or on defense. Mortar units are subject to ammo limits, meaning they may be removed from the game as “all rounds expended” after conducting certain Bombardment Fire attacks.
Single step units – all gun, mortar, and transport units have only a single step. The reverse side of gun and mortar units shows them in a “limbered” or “packed up” state for movement; they are unable to fire in that state. The back side of transport units – trucks and halftracks e.g. – shows other transport unit types entirely; these units are never flipped over to show a change in state. Any single step unit that would suffer a step loss for any reason is eliminated. Note that a 2 step unit on its reverse side is not a single step unit in the sense of this rule, but any additional step loss does still eliminate that unit.
Various rules are given in terms of the above categories. For example, any armored vehicle may conduct an Overrun action. Cavalry may also conduct an Overrun action. All armored vehicles ignore all results on the Direct Fire table, and ignore M and M1 results on the Bombardment table. Open topped armored vehicles are affected by M2 and X results on the Bombardment table by taking 1 step loss and disrupting. Close topped armored vehicles are affected only by X results on the Bombardment table, taking 1 step loss and disrupting.
Spotting categories are (1) infantry and infantry heavy weapons (HMG and Mortar types), (2) guns and mounted units, and (3) vehicles. See the spotting rules for full details.
Stacking is the presence of more than one friendly unit in the same hex. Stacking in Simple Panzer Grenadier is limited to a maximum of 2 vehicle units and 3 units of all types combined. A non-vehicle passenger unit counts fully against the 3 units per hex maximum. No vehicle may ever transport more than 1 friendly unit. 2 step armored vehicle units on their reverse, last step side may not transport any kind of unit.
No units may voluntarily move so as to violate these stacking limits at the end of its movement. Units may move through other friendly units in excess of the stacking limits, but cannot end in violation of the limits. If for any reason a unit is forced to violate the stacking limits, the friendly player decides which units to keep, and all other units in the over-stacked hex are eliminated. (Hint, don’t do this).
Friendly units may never occupy the same hex as enemy units. Attempting to enter an enemy occupied hex is Assault if conducted by Infantry type units, and Overrun if conducted by Armored Vehicle type units, which may only attempt it in suitable terrain (open ground, wheat field, and brush base terrain types, with or without roads, gullies, slopes or foxholes). No other unit types may attempt to enter enemy occupied hexes. Assault and Overrun are forms of combat, and will either succeed in taking the hex from the enemy units present or not. If they succeed, the units conducting the Assault or Overrun must enter the hex, after all enemy units retreat out of it (or were previously destroyed).
Most forms of attack affect all units in any hex hit by that attack. Direct Fire does not affect armored vehicles, but the same combat result is applied to all unarmored units, including mounted and infantry units. Bombardment also affects all units in the hex hit by Bombardment Fire. Close Assault and Overrun affect all units present, both for the defender’s first fire to resist the attempt, and the attacker’s fire if that fails to destroy or disrupt all the attackers.
AT Fire is always directed against a single vehicle unit, only. In addition, Direct Fire conducted against a moving enemy unit by the inactive player – Opportunity Fire – affects only the unit currently moving. Last, opportunity fire using the Direct Fire table may be conducted against an external passenger (“tank rider”), and affects only that passenger.
These are the only forms of combat that affect only one target unit in the hex fired upon. For everything else, the higher you stack, the more impact each enemy combat result will have. Note that it is this tactical reality, not any lack of space within each hex, that is behind the game’s stacking limits.
Basic movement rules
Each unit has a movement allowance on the upper right hand corner of its unit counter. In any Move action, the unit may expend any number of movement points (MPs) up to that number to enter new hexes adjacent to its present location, one after another. The movement cost of each hex entered is given on the terrain effects chart, and may be modified by environmental conditions (e.g. mud or deep snow ground state). Units move one at a time. The only exception is that a vehicle unit carrying a passenger automatically brings that passenger along on its own move. In that case, it is the vehicle that is performing the Move action, not the passenger.
A vehicle may pick up any passenger that it can carry for 1/2 its full movement allowance, fractions round up. Equally, it may drop off its passenger in any hex it enters for the same cost. It will not have enough to do both in the same turn.
Any unit that was a passenger of a vehicle performing a Move action is marked as Spent at the conclusion of that vehicle’s move, just as the vehicle itself is.
Gun units picked up are automatically flipped to their Towed side, and remain on that side if dropped off, until the following turn’s Refresh phase.
Armored vehicle units and cavalry units may conduct a special action called Overrun, described in detail below. While this is a form of combat, the movement portion of the action follows all of the usual rules for ordinary movement. The Overrun attempt itself requires 1/2 of the unit’s full movement allowance, fractions round up. A unit may only perform 1 Overrun attempt during its action, regardless of available movement points. If its Overrun is successful and it has movement points remaining, it may continue moving to the limits of its remaining movement points. If the Overrun attempt fails to clear the target hex of all enemy units, the attempting unit must end its movement in the hex from which is made the attempt, and is marked as spent there.
Movement and ground conditions
The normal movement cost of each terrain is given in the original game’s terrain effects chart. These costs can be modified by the ground condition and some related factors. The normal ground condition is dry ground.
In a ground condition of light mud or snow, tracked vehicles, leg units, cavalry, and wagons each spend an additional 0.5 movement points for each hex entered. Wheeled vehicles and motorcycles pay an extra full 1 movement point for each hex entered.
In a ground condition of deep mud or deep snow, tracked vehicles, leg units, cavalry and wagons each spend an addition 1 movement point for each hex entered. Wheeled vehicles and motorcycles pay an extra 2 movement points for each hex entered. However, in deep snow ground conditions, road movement pays only the normal snow penalty, not the full deep snow penalty. Roads do not help this way in deep mud ground conditions – the full penalty is still paid for movement along roads.
Skis are a special equipment for leg units only in snow ground conditions only, which may be available to some units or formations by scenario special rules. Units using skis are considered Mounted units for all purposes, including spotting, fire, terrain benefits etc. The effect of skis on movement in snow is simply to negate completely the snow movement penalty; ski units pay normal movement costs and ignore the snow ground state for movement purposes.
Some scenarios may specify that certain types of terrain should be treated as soft ground terrain. Soft ground is treated the same as the terrain shown on the map plus light mud ground conditions in the specified terrain types, only.
There are no minimum one hex moves or anything similar in Simple Panzer Grenadier. If a unit lacks sufficient movement allowance to enter a given terrain type in a given ground state, then it simply can’t move there without a transporting vehicle. For example, medium mortars in a fully assembled (not “packed up”) state have only 1 MP, and won’t be able to move in mud or snow ground conditions without packing up first.
The available action types are move, fire, assault, overrun, and rally. Each is covered in detail in its own section below. Fire comes in multiple forms, direct fire meant to affect soft targets, AT fire at single vehicle units, and bombardment which can be fired by a different unit than the one spotting the enemy hex.
Move – a single vehicle with or without passengers may activate for movement, or a single mounted or leg unit with a movement allowance greater than 0 may do so. Each unit is thus moved separately, with vehicles carrying their passive passengers, if any.
A moving unit can spend any number of movement points up to its full movement allowance. Terrain effects charts detail the movement cost of each hex entered. Units may never enter a hex containing any enemy unit. Units may move through friendly units, but may not exceed the stacking restrictions (see above) at the end of their movement.
Weather ground state may also affect movement, change the cost of entering each terrain type, or limit the movement allowance of different classes of units. Scenario rules specify the weather ground state (e.g. snow, deep snow, mud).
A vehicle may drop off any passenger in any hex it is in during its move, including the first and the last, for a cost of 1/2 its full movement allowance, fractions round up.
A vehicle may pick up any passenger it can carry at any point in its move, including the first and last hex, for a cost of 1/2 of its full movement allowance, fractions round up.
Any passenger moved by a vehicle at any point in the vehicle’s move is marked as “spent” at the conclusion of that vehicle’s move, along with the vehicle itself. Note that it may have been spent already; that’s fine. But if it was not already spent, it becomes so.
Any unit performing a move action may be subject to enemy opportunity fire if it moves into any hex in range and sight of any ready and undisrupted enemy unit with the appropriate combat ratings (e.g. bombardment only units cannot conduct Opportunity fire). Such fire “interrupts” the unit’s own move, and is fully resolved before it finishes its movement. The opportunity firing unit is marked as spent after this resolution.
Each moving unit is marked as spent as soon as it finishes its movement. The opponent may always choose to conduct opportunity fire against it in the last hex of its movement. He may not force the unit to “back up” to shoot at it earlier in its move after seeing where it intends to stop.
Always complete the movement of each moving unit (including vehicle with passenger) before beginning movement of any other unit, or performing any other friendly side action.
Fire – A single unit or in certain cases a fire group (see below) may activate to fire at any enemy unit currently in its range, line of sight, and spotting range for the target’s cover and state. Fire combat takes 3 forms – direct fire, bombardment fire, and AT fire. Passenger units may not fire or join fire groups; they must be dropped by their vehicle carrier units first. Since they will be marked spent when they are moved (including their being dismounted by their vehicle), they will not be able to fire until the following turn, one they start out not being passengers. To fire at a target, certain spotting conditions must be fulfilled, so those are discussed next. After the spotting rules section there are detailed sections on each type of fire.
Spotting and spotting ranges
A fire attack (including Opportunity fire) can only be conducted if the targeted enemy unit or hex is spotted. Bombardment fire attacks can be spotted for by any undisrupted friendly unit except unarmored vehicles, including the bombardment shooting unit itself. Disrupted units may not spot for bombardment fire by other units, but may spot for their own fire attacks of any type. Spotting is a function of two factors, line of sight and range. Both conditions must be fulfilled for a spot to exist.
Line of sight
A line between the center of the spotting unit’s hex and the target unit’s hex must be clear of LOS obstructions. Normally woods, building hexes, and intervening higher ground always block LOS. Wheatfield, brush and other low level concealment terrain blocks LOS between units on the same level as each other and the concealment terrain.
Friendly or enemy units do not block LOS in themselves, but ordinary direct fire (not AT or bombardment fire) may not be conducted through friendly units.
Obstructing terrain in the target unit’s hex does not block LOS but may provide a defensive fire table shift. Obstructing terrain in the firing or spotting unit’s hex never has any effect on spotting or fire.
Assuming the LOS is clear, the spotting unit must still be close enough to see the target unit. The range at which units can be spotted is given on the spotting range tables, and varies according to the type of unit being spotted, whether it is unspent or spent, and the type of terrain in the hex of the unit to be spotted, and overall visibility. Note that the spotting range rules of Simple Panzer Grenadier are considerable more involved than the original, and form a more important part of the game’s tactics. Units are deliberately differentiated by how “stealthy” they are, and manipulating who can see whom to conduct fire attacks is critical to playing the game well.
Spent units are easier to spot, disrupted leg units are harder to spot. Infantry units are harder to spot than other dismounted units, all of which are harder to spot than vehicles. In addition, if the spotting unit is disrupted, it suffers from a shift on the spotting table that reduces the range at which it can spot enemy units. It also may not provide spots for bombardment fire by other units. See the spotting tables for full details.
It is entirely possible for an enemy unit to be within a unit’s firing range with a clear LOS between the two, but be unable to fire at that enemy unit because it cannot spot that unit. Infantry in cover, especially if it is unspent, won’t be spotted until someone gets to fairly close range. Note that only bombardment fire can benefit from spotting by a unit other than the firing unit. All direct and AT fire requires that the shooter itself be within spotting range of its intended target. It is perfectly normal for a given unit to be spotted by some enemy units but not spotted by many others. Only the units that can see it, and any bombardment capable units those might be able to direct (if the spotter is undisrupted) will be able to fire at a given unit.
Spotting table and modifiers
There are 3 basic visibility conditions that affect all spotting ranges, globally. Normal day has full spotting ranges, night or heavy fog or blizzard has very short spotting ranges, and an intermediate state of impaired visibility covers pre-dawn, after dusk, rain snow and dust conditions with intermediate visibility ranges.
One always uses the section of the spotting tables corresponding to this global visibility condition e.g. the night portion of the table for night or fog scenarios. Some scenario special rules may specify a change in the global visibility condition as of a certain game turn e.g. pre-dawn for turns 1-5, then normal day. Global visibility conditions never differ across the field; they apply uniformly to the entire map, when they apply.
Unit visibility is also affected by the base terrain type the unit occupies.
All terrain types fall into just 3 classes for spotting purposes – full cover terrain, concealment terrain, and open ground terrain. Full cover terrain is limited to town hexes and full woods hexes (including jungle). Concealment terrain includes wheat field, brush, marsh, orchard, hedges, gullies and similar. Open ground terrain includes plain open ground, pavement, all bridge and water, and plowed fields not under standing crops, soft ground, and the like.
Note that foxholes, being dug in, field fortifications, and slopes do not change spotting ranges. Slopes and hills do affect LOS, but if there is a clear LOS between spotter and potential spotted unit, they have no effect on the range at which units of a given type can be seen.
If either the spotting or the spotted unit is a disrupted leg unit, then the cover state of the target unit is increased by one level, with full cover unchanged. This reflects limited vision from men being prone and behind cover. If both are, the effect is the same, no additional shift.
Certain early war and light armored vehicles suffered from overworked commanders, small cramped turrets, limited vision devices and a general lack of visibility. Whenever the spotting unit is one of these types, shift the target unit’s cover state one higher as above. Again do not apply both shifts if two cases apply, only one. All 1 man turret vehicles are in this class, and 2 man turret vehicles in which the commander had to serve as the gunner or loader as well, unless they have improved vision devices and communications. So e.g. the KV-1 does not suffer from this (3 man turret with dedicated commander), but the T-34A and T-34B models do; the C model is the first with a commander’s cupola and thus the first not to suffer from this drawback.
The type of unit being spotted is placed into one of 3 classes. Infantry units including infantry heavy weapons (HMGs and mortars) are the hardest to spot. The next class covers all gun units as well as mounted units (cavalry or motorcycle or wagon), and the last covers all vehicles.
Spotting ranges are also affected by the ready or spent state of the target unit. Spent units are easier to spot because all actions – movement, firing, rally – draw attention and make concealment harder. Note that there is no automatic 12 hex spotting of any unit that fires. Spotting vs a unit that is spent for any reason uses the “Spent” rows of the tables below, that is all.
The table entries are simply the number of hexes away that sort of unit can be seen. At that range or less the unit is spotted; at any longer range it is not.
Clear day visibility table
Clear Concealment Full Cover
Infantry ready 4 3 2
Infantry spent 6 4 3
Guns/Mounted ready 6 4 3
Guns/Mounted spent 8 6 4
Vehicles ready 8 6 4
Vehicles spent 12 8 6
Impaired visibility table (Dawn/Dusk/Rain/Snow/Dust)
Clear Concealment Full Cover
Infantry ready 2 1 1
Infantry spent 3 2 2
Guns/Mounted ready 3 2 1
Guns/Mounted spent 4 3 3
Vehicles ready 4 3 2
Vehicles spent 6 4 3
Night/Fog visibility table
Clear Concealment Full Cover
Infantry ready 1 1 1
Infantry spent 2 2 2
Guns/Mounted ready 1 1 1
Guns/Mounted spent 2 2 2
Vehicles ready 2 1 1
Vehicles spent 3 2 2
Notice that there is nothing reciprocal about spotting ranges as there is about lines of sight. It is entirely possible that one side can see the other clearly and the other side cannot see them back, even if the former are shooting at them.
It is also entirely legitimate to use “timing tactics” related to spotting ranges. E.g. firing late in the turn with most enemy units spent, then immediately recovering to ready in the next turn’s refresh phase to reduce the distance at which one can be spotted for reply fire, as a kind of “snap shot”, is a valid use of the enemy neglecting to leave Ready units on overwatch to reply during that short interval.
Multiple column results and shifts
This section applies to all forms of combat except AT Fire.
In some cases, different combat modifiers may apply to different units in the target hex. In all such cases, adjust the column for that unit by its modifiers to determine the combat result for that unit. For example, a Direct Fire column 7 attack vs a hex containing ordinary infantry and cavalry (+1 target type modifier for the latter only) rolls a “10” result. This reads “M” for the infantry and “M1” for the cavalry, since the effect on the cavalry is read off the “11” column due to its modifier. The cavalry loses one step, then a single morale check roll is made for both units.
If column shifts would move any combat resolution right of the rightmost column, that combat is resolved on the rightmost column of that table. If column shifts would move any combat resolution left of the leftmost column, that attack automatically has no effect. The dice are not rolled and Reaction cannot be triggered. The initiating player may choose to reconsider any attack seen to be pointless for this reason, to spare a unit from being marked as Spent without purpose, for example.
AT fire conducted at a final adjusted modifier of -3 or less cannot affect the target, since the highest roll of 12 would be modified down to a 9 in that case, which yield no effect. Similar to the previous, any AT fire attack that is seen to result in a -3 final modifier is not rolled, no Reaction is triggered, and the initiating player may reconsider the decision to perform the action. -3 final modifier shots do not make later shots in the same impulse eligible for the Flanking AT fire modifier; only attacks that might endanger the target can influence its choice of tactical facing.
This section applies to all forms of combat except AT fire, and to rally.
Simple Panzer Grenadier simplifies the morale and morale check system of the original game considerably. Units have only 2 morale states, good order and disrupted. Combat result can cause morale checks, but these are made without modifiers. M1 and M2 results have entirely new meanings in Simple Panzer Grenadier. Combat is simpler and faster, as units take step losses on many more combat results. See each combat section for details.
Morale checks are always an unmodified 2d6 vs the unit’s scenario specified morale level – typically 7 for regulars, 6 for green troops, or 8 for veteran forces. If the 2d6 are less than or equal to the unit’s morale, it passes and there is no effect. If the 2d6 is higher than the unit’s morale, it fails and is disrupted. Roll once for the entire stack, and apply the results to all units present.
Note that if the units have different morale levels, some might pass and others fail, but always off the same morale check die roll.
If a side takes enough losses to its combat units in a given scenario, its global morale level can drop by 1. See the section below on “shaken” morale loss limits. Further losses can also prevent that side for conducting Rally actions for the remainder of the game. See the section below on “demoralization” loss limits.
Passengers and combat results
Passengers are affected by any combat result to their transporting vehicle. If they are being carried by a single step vehicle unit that suffers a step loss, the vehicle is destroyed and the transported unit suffers a step loss and disrupts.
If that passenger in turn has only a single step (originally or remaining), it will be destroyed by that step loss. Any infantry unit “tank riding” on a 2 step armored vehicle unit (not a halftrack) is automatically dismounted in the hex in which its carrying vehicle suffers a step loss result, takes a step loss itself, and disrupts. Any tank rider unit that disrupts as a result of combat dismounts in the hex in which the disruption occurs. An X (full unit elimination) result to an unarmored vehicle transporting a 2 step unit destroys both the vehicle and its passenger unit, completely.
Direct fire uses the black fire strength and range numbers on the lower left side of the unit counters, and represents forms of fire meant to injure or kill exposed enemy personnel, such a machineguns, small arms, shell fragments. As such Direct fire affects only Soft units, and may not be conducted through friendly units. Direct fire is always resolved on the direct fire table.
Fire groups for direct fire
When activating for fire, a single firing unit is always chosen first. A fire group may be formed by any units in the same hex, and/or in up to 2 hexes each of which must be adjacent to the first chosen firing unit. The longest range from any hex in the fire group is used to resolve the fire group attack. Units out of range may not participate in a fire group, and each hex in the group must have a clear line of sight to the target unit and be within spotting range. Lines of sight for direct fire attack purposes may not be traced through any hex containing friendly units. If the line of sight passes along a hex spine and both hexes on either side of that spine contain friendly units or obstructing terrain, the LOS is blocked. If it passes along such a spine and only 1 of the 2 hexes on either side of that spine contains friendly units or obstructing terrain, the LOS is clear.
The direct fire strength of a fire group is the sum of the fire strength of all units in the group. Forming a fire group is always voluntary; each unit may instead fire separately as a separate fire action. All units in the fire group are marked as spent after resolving their fire attack.
Direct fire modifiers
Modifiers shift the column of the fire table left (negative) or right (positive). All the modifiers that apply to a given shot are totaled and the net result, only, provides a single shift to the firepower column used for the attack. The dice are rolled only once. If different target types are present and receive different modifiers, the result applied to each may be different.
The number of modifiers to Direct Fire attacks has been reduced considerably from the original game. The modifiers that are used are target hex terrain, range, target unit type, and target movement.
First on terrain effects, none of the modifiers for beneficial terrain are available to mounted units (cavalry or motorcycle). They suffer from the Mounted unit type penalty instead.
Direct fire modifier list
-2 terrain effect is limited to fortifications (bunkers, scenario rule only) and heavy buildings. Town and village hexes are assumed to be normal buildings unless scenario rules say otherwise.
-1 terrain effect is given by foxholes, woods, normal buildings, or (for infantry units only) gully. Foxholes are not cumulative with other terrain; if the other terrain would not give a bonus, being dug in or having foxholes gives the -1 benefit.
+1 effect is given for all firing units 1 hex away from the target.
At ranges 2-4 hexes there is no effect for the range.
-1 effect is given for any firing units 5 hexes or more away from the target.
+1 effect is given for a mounted unit target, or an unarmored vehicle target.
+1 effect is given for opportunity fire vs leg units moving by themselves (not as passengers on any kind of vehicle) in open ground terrain, only. Note that this includes hazardous movement (bridge, wire, boats on a river hex, or anything of that kind).
Note that modifiers are different for other forms of fire. See each section.
Direct fire results
Armored units (any armor rating, even 0) are not affected at all by direct fire results. Leg, mounted, and unarmored transport units are all affected by any fire result. (Soft) Passengers riding “outside” on tanks are fully effected by direct fire results. Passengers riding “inside” halftracks are not affected at all by direct fire results. Passengers in soft vehicles are fully affected by direct fire results; see the passenger section above.
An X or NX result completely eliminates 1 or N whole units in the hex. In addition, one other soft unit present takes a single step loss, and it and all other soft units present are automatically disrupted. The firing player chooses the first unit eliminated, the targeted player chooses all losses after that first one, until the full combat result has been applied.
An M2 result reduces up to 2 soft units in the hex by 1 step each, with the shooting player choosing the first unit affected and the owning player choosing the second (if any). All soft units present are also automatically disrupted. If only 1 soft unit is present, it just takes 1 step loss and disrupts.
An M1 result reduces a single soft unit of the shooting player’s choice by 1 step. Then every soft unit in the hex checks morale, with a single morale check die roll applied to all.
An M result causes all soft units present to check morale, with a single morale die roll applied to all.
Units with a white fire strength and range can use those values for bombardment table fire only. Bombardment fire can never conduct opportunity fire. Bombardment fire uses the Bombardment fire table, and effects all units in the target hex with a single roll. Bombardment fire can be conducted without a line of sight as long as the target is within range of the firing unit and there is any undisrupted friendly unit (whether ready or spent) in spotting distance of the target. This is “indirect fire”, but is in all other respects just like normal bombardment fire. Artillery units off the map may conduct bombardment fire normally at any target its friendly good order units can spot, provided it is within range of the firing artillery unit. Scenario special rules may specify the distance off map an off board artillery unit is. If they do not, count the range from any friendly map edge.
Fire groups for bombardment fire
Up to 3 units may combine their Bombardment strengths into a single Bombardment fire attack, provided they are either stacked in the same hex or adjacent to each other. They activate together like a direct fire fire-group, conduct a single attack on a single target hex with their combined bombardment strength, apply any results, and are then both marked as Spent. Unless otherwise specified by a scenario special rule, all off board artillery of the same unit type may be considered adjacent to each other for this purpose. Off board artillery of different unit types may not combine their fire. Ammo expenditure effects for a combined bombardment attack affect both of the participating units. No bombardment attack may ever be conducted by more than 3 units together. The bombardment fire strength of a bombardment fire group is the total of all participating unit’s bombardment strengths.
-2 for fortification or heavy building
-1 for other building hex
-1 for foxholes or dug in
+1 for mounted unit or unarmored vehicle
Notice, woods and gullies confer no protection against bombardment fire. Range has no effect on bombardment fire. Movement states have no effect on bombardment fire.
Bombardment fire results
The results of bombardment fire are the same as those of direct fire, except that armored units can be affected by certain bombardment results. Full top armored units can be affected by X results (only) on the bombardment table, while open topped armored units may be affected by both X and M2 results. The loss application procedure is the same as for direct fire, including the shooting player picking the first unit affected and the owning player choosing all others after that. Only a unit that can be affected may be chosen, in either case. Any eligible armored unit affected by a Bombardment fire table result loses 1 step and disrupts. Soft units are affected in the same manner as Direct fire.
Passengers riding “outside” on tanks are fully affected by all bombardment table results. All other passengers share the fate of their transporting vehicle; see the section on passengers above.
Ammunition limits and bombardment fire
All Bombardment capable units have a chance of running out of ammunition when conducting bombardment attacks, which use much more ammunition firing continually than other forms of aimed direct fire. Scenario special rules may modify these normal limits, but standard ammo depletion numbers are given below.
The way ammo depletion works is simple – if the bombardment fire resolution natural die roll is equal to or higher than the firing unit’s ammo depletion number, this fire mission has exhausted the unit’s ammo stocks. The result of the fire is applied normally, and then instead of marking the firing unit Spent, it is removed from the game. It does not count as eliminated for victory or loss threshold purposes. The battery has simply redeployed pending the arrival of more ammo, which will not be available within the duration of the present scenario.
Ammunition depletion table
Rocket artillery, on or off map – ammo depletion number 9
Limited ammo artillery vehicles on map – ammo depletion number 10
All mortars, on map artillery guns or heavy Flak – ammo depletion number 11
Dedicated support off board artillery – ammo depletion number 11
Normal support off board artillery – ammo depletion number 10
Note that most bombardment units are guaranteed to have some fire effect, if only causing enemy morale checks, before depleting their ammo stocks. But the number of enemy units they can be expected to destroy or disrupt before “running dry” is limited.
Off board artillery normally has other possible targets and units to support, thus its lower ammo depletion number, normally. A supporting battery can only be expected to fire in your support a handful of times, with a couple of those effective missions.
When a battery is completely dedicated to supporting this one local fight, it merits the same higher ammo depletion number as on map artillery guns (only by scenario rule).
The correlation between running out and effective shots is intentional. Poor shots that are still trying to find the range use relatively little ammo, but full “fire for effect” missions will often hurt the target but expend the available ammo in the process.
Be careful about using dual role guns too frequently in a bombardment role, if you are relying on them for e.g. AT defense. They can be removed for running “dry” and may leave a hole in your fire plan.
Air support and air units
When air support is present in a scenario, one of the available air units may be ordered to attack any spotted enemy unit that could be attacked with an ordinary Bombardment. However, air Bombardment attacks may not be called within 2 hexes of any friendly unit. Roll 2d6 and consult the following table.
Air support table
2 friendly fire
3-5 abort mission
9-12 deliver attack
On friendly fire, the air attack is delivered against the nearest friendly unit to the intended target hex. In case of equal distances, the opponent decides which is hit. The attack itself is conducted in the same manner as deliver attack below.
On abort mission, the plane is removed from the available support pool and no attack is delivered.
On loiter, no attack is delivered but the plane remains available for later attempts.
On deliver attack, the targeted hex is attacked by a single Bombardment Fire using the plane’s rated strength.
After any delivered attack, friendly or enemy, the plane is removed from the available air support pool for that side. One delivered attack per game per assigned plane. (And really, 50-50 that it will deliver rather than abort or fire at you).
Air attacks always use the bombardment table. As usual, M2 and X results on that table are effective against open topped armored vehicles. X results (only) are effective against fully topped armored vehicles.
Some scenarios may specify a +1 to their air support rolls to reflect particularly accurate and dedicated air support.
AT fire is always performed by a single firing unit at a time, firing at a single target unit. Only the targeted unit and its passengers are affected by that AT fire attack. AT fire uses the red AT fire numbers on the lower right side of the unit counters. Not all units are capable of AT fire; only those with the red AT firepower numbers may conduct AT fire attacks.
AT fire is conducted by rolling 2d6 of different colors. One is called the red or colored die and the other the white die. The white die is treated normally, but for the red die, add 1 to its result while treating a modified “7” as a “6”. Thus the results on the red die only run 2 3 4 5 6 6, and the result of the entire roll will vary between 3 and 12.
The AT attack value of the firing unit is added to this roll, and the AT armor value of the target unit is subtracted from it. The total modifier for AT attack value vs defense armor value is called the net armor modifier, and it is limited to the range -4 to +4. Various other AT fire modifiers may also apply for range, flanking shooters, terrain, as detailed below.
AT fire may be conducted against unarmored vehicles. The target’s armor rating is considered to be -1. Then conduct the AT fire normally.
AT fire modifiers
The difference between the attacking unit’s AT fire rating and the target’s armor rating is first computed by subtracting the armor rating from the AT fire rating. If this net armored attack number is greater than +4 it is treated as +4. If this net armored attack number is less than -4 it is treated as -4. Notice, this procedure of “capping” the net armored attack number is done before applying all other modifiers to the attack.
Only a very limited number of modifiers effect AT fire. Notably, terrain has almost no effect on AT fire, except for those forms conferring “hull down” protection. Range and target movement both effect AT fire. Disrupted units suffer considerably when delivering AT fire, though their AT firepower rating is not affected. Last, “flanking” modifies AT fire, and can arise in two distinct ways.
-1 for hull down target, achieved either way (see next line)
Dug in target – OR – target on a slope, steep slope, or hilltop and higher than the firing unit
+1 for range 1 hex
-1 for range 5 hexes or more
-1 for opportunity fire (only) vs a moving target
-2 for a disrupted shooter
+1 for flanking, achieved either way (see below)
The flanking fire bonus is available for the second and subsequent shooters firing at the same vehicle target during the same impulse i.e. before any change in active player control. It requires that the hexside through which the later shooters’ LOS lines reach the target hex be different from the hexside crossed by the first shooter to fire at it. Only those shooters whose LOS line meets this criterion receive the bonus. If the line of LOS is directly along a hex spine one side of which was the previous direction of incoming fire, the shot is not a flank shot. Any previous shot at the same target within the same impulse may be used to qualify for the flanking bonus, not just the first.
Flanking fire may be earned during Opportunity fire in the manner described above, by the second and later shooters, provided the different shooters all fire at the moving vehicle in the same hex of its movement.
The flanking fire bonus is also available during opportunity fire (only) by the first and all shooters if the target vehicle is moving on a road using the road movement rate or is crossing a bridge hex, and the hexside through which the LOS enters the target hex is not the front hexside of that road or bridge in the direction of travel. Note that in this instance, as the target is by definition moving, the flanking bonus will simply negate the moving target modifier. As above, LOS lines that cross a hex spine sharing the front hex of travel are not flank shots.
An AT attack that achieves a final modifier of only -3 or worse may not be used to earn the flanking bonus for subsequent shots in the same impulse or the same hex of movement, as only AT fire capable of damaging the target vehicle would force it to turn its superior armor directions to face that fire.
AT fire results
If the modified final AT fire die roll is 10-12, the target loses 1 step and disrupts.
If the modified final AT fire die roll is 13 or higher, the target is eliminated.
Passengers are affected along with their vehicle; see the section on passengers above.
Some points to notice about AT fire and possible net modifiers. Since the maximum armored attack is +4 before modifiers, an original 2-4 roll will always miss if there are no other modifiers to that attack. (3-5 after the procedure for the colored die is applied, +4 maximum, is 9 maximum for those rolls, which yields no effect). This is intentional – you have to hit the target first, even if your gun is powerful enough to penetrate the targeted vehicles easily. A long range shot at a moving target will have an even higher chance of missing, even with the most powerful guns firing at unarmored or lightly armored vehicles.
Second, because the minimum net armored attack number is -4, when both possible favorable modifiers, for point blank range and a flanking shot, apply, and no negative ones apply (e.g. for opportunity fire or a dug in target), a modified 12 after the colored die procedure can always inflict a step loss, no matter how heavily armored the target vehicles. This reflects cumulative damage even from non-penetrating hits, to points vulnerable on all armored vehicles, like their tracks, gun barrel, sights, fuel cells, vision blocks, and so forth. Notice that this manner of disabling much heavier tanks with lighter AT weapons will only be available when multiple shooters engage the same stationary target at point blank range.
Assault is a form of combat in which infantry type units attempt to enter an enemy occupied hex and eject its present occupants. Only infantry units may conduct assault, and only if they begin their action adjacent to an enemy unit. (See below for “overrun”, however). Assault may be conducted against any type of enemy unit or units in any kind of terrain, but assaults into open ground against tanks are harder. See modifiers below.
Note that HMG units may not conduct assault attacks. (Engineers are a type of infantry platoon and may assault normally). In addition, HMG units defending against assault halve their firepower for Defensive first fire against an assault. Mortar and towed gun units have no Assault Fire capability, on attack or on defense. Of course guns that are in a Ready state may use Opportunity fire against enemies that move next to them, but they don’t get defensive first fire against Assault or Overrun. Armed vehicle units use their full soft firepower rating for Assault Fire defense.
Any number of good order friendly infantry units may activate for the same assault, as long as they are all adjacent to the same targeted enemy occupied hex at the moment of activation. All enemy units in the assaulted hex (only) are the defenders for this assault. Disrupted units may not take part in an Assault action.
The assault procedure is that the defenders may first conduct Defensive First Fire using the Assault table. Any undisrupted attacking infantry remaining after defensive first fire is fully resolved then conduct a single assault fire attack roll against the defending hex. After the results of this attack roll are applied, any disrupted defenders must retreat out of the assaulted hex, regardless of whether they were previously disrupted or the assault just disrupted them.
If there are any good order defenders remaining after any such retreat, then those defenders keep the hex; the assault was repulsed. If the assaulted hex is vacant, at least half the attacking units, fractions round up, must move into the assaulted hex, up to the stacking limit of 3 units maximum. Mark all assaulting units Spent at this point. Defenders are never marked as Spent for defending against an Assault, regardless of its outcomes.
When defenders are conducting defensive first fire, each defending unit may fire at a single attacking hex, or they may combined their fire as they see fit. Total the fire value of the defenders, find that column on the Assault table, and roll 2d6.
The results of Assault are the same as Direct Fire, except armored units are fully affected by all results on the Assault table, like any other unit. Assault does use its own list of modifiers, however, given in the next section.
Assault and Overrun fire modifiers
-1 target hex includes any leg unit in a fortification or any building hex
(Attacker or defender; assaulting units can get this benefit vs defensive fire fire)
-1 for attacker only if defending hex contains infantry or HMG units in foxholes
(Not cumulative with the previous)
-1 for attacker only if defending hex is at a higher elevation than all attacking units
(Can be cumulative with either of the two previous terrain effects)
-1 for attacker only if defending hex contains a fully topped armored vehicle in clear
+1 for attacker only if all attacking units have higher morale than all defending units
+1 (Panzerfausts) attacking German infantry in 1944-5 vs hex containing any vehicle
+1 (Special weapons) attack only for at least one combat engineer unit in attacking force
Target hex base terrain must be open, wheat or brush
+1 for attacker only if attacking unit is full topped armored vehicle and defenders are in clear terrain
-1 for defender only if attacking unit is a full topped armored vehicle and defenders are in clear terrain
+1 (Panzerfausts) defender only for German infantry defending against overrun in 1944-5
Assault or overrun
+1 for attacker only if all defending units are disrupted
(Attacking disrupted units are impossible; they cannot participate)
Overrun is a form of combined movement and combat in which an armored vehicle or cavalry unit attempts to enter an open ground, wheat or brush hex occupied by enemy leg units (only). A single armored vehicle may activate to conduct an overrun; any passengers of that armored vehicle may be brought along passively but contribute nothing to the fight. Since all movement is conducted one unit at a time, if multiple armored vehicles or cavalry units want to overrun the same target hex, these must be conducted as separate overrun attacks delivered in sequence, and (surviving) defending units will be able to Defensive first fire against each overrun attempt, in turn.
The overrun itself costs 1/2 the vehicle’s entire movement allowance, fractions round up, as the cost of the attempt to enter the enemy occupied hex. Overrun is resolved exactly like an Assault combat, described above, but since only one unit moves at a time there can only ever be a single attacking unit. The defending units conduct defensive first fire, and if the overrunning unit is undisrupted, it conducts an Assault combat against all units in the defending hex.
Note that Bombardment strength cannot be used in either Assault or Overrun combat. AT fire would have to be used as Opportunity Fire against a moving vehicle before the Overrun proper, and that requires a ready “unspent” firing unit. Direct fire value of leg units is used normally in assault and overrun combat, but HMG units are halved on defense in such situations, and as mentioned above cannot participate in assault attacks.
Note that a unit does not need to be unspent to conduct defensive first fire, and if Ready, doing so does not exhaust the unit. It remains Ready, and may conduct defensive first fire as many times as it is Assaulted or Overrun.
Assault and Overrun results
All unit types are fully affected by all results on the Assault table, regardless of armor. Interpretation of results are otherwise as for the direct fire table. As with Direct fire, the firing player chooses the first enemy unit affected by his achieved combat result, and the owning player chooses those affected by all additional loss effects, until all have been allocated. All passengers are affected by assault and overrun results and generally share the fate of their vehicle; see the section on passengers above.
After the attacker’s resolution of assault or overrun fire, any disrupted units in the defending hex must retreat 1 hex. If the defending hex is vacant of all defending units after this, then the attackers must advance into the hex using at least half of their attacking units, rounding fractions up, within the stacking limits. For example, an assault by 3 or 4 units must move 2 into the conquered hex, and could chose to move in 3. Other units that assaulted may remain in their previous hexes. All assaulting units are then marked as Spent. In an overrun, the overrunning unit must advance into the target hex if it is vacated. If it has movement points left it may continue moving normally, but may not conduct another overrun in the same action. Once it has finished its movement it is marked as Spent. If a vehicle or cavalry unit fails to take the targeted hex in an Overrun action, it stops in the hex from which it made the attempt and is marked as Spent. If a disrupted unit cannot retreat from an overrun or assaulted hex and any undisrupted attacking unit remains which can enter that hex, then the unit that could not retreat surrenders and is eliminated.
Combat results may disrupt a unit. A unit remains disrupted until it successfully performs a Rally action. While it is disrupted, a unit refreshes normally, but it suffers various penalties to its effectiveness.
A disrupted unit may move normally with its entire movement allowance, but may not voluntarily end a move action adjacent to any enemy unit. It may be a passenger or carry passengers, but if either half is disrupted, this restriction applies.
A disrupted vehicle may drop off passengers normally, but may not pick up new passengers as long as its remains disrupted.
If for any reason a disrupted unit does end its own move action adjacent to an enemy unit (other than unarmored transport) it surrenders and is eliminated. Disrupted units adjacent to enemy units are otherwise unharmed and may fire normally, for example. They just can’t end their own move next to any enemy unit (other than unarmored transport).
A disrupted unit may fire normally, but it fires with 1/2 of its printed firepower for Direct Fire, Bombardment Fire, and defensive first fire vs assault or overrun. Round fractions up. Disrupted units may conduct AT Fire but receive a -2 modifier to their AT attack die roll. A disrupted unit may not conduct opportunity fire. It may join fire groups normally, for both Direct and Bombardment fire, contributing its halved fire rating.
A disrupted unit may not spot for indirect bombardment fire. Disrupted leg units suffer from a shift on the spotting table reducing the range at which they spot enemy units. In addition, disrupted leg units are harder to spot than undisrupted leg units. See the spotting table for full details.
A disrupted unit may conduct defensive first fire against enemy assaults normally, but may not conduct an assault action or contribute its firepower to any assault, including one in which it became disrupted.
A disrupted unit must retreat out of any hex the enemy assaults or overruns, if any attacking unit remains undisrupted after defensive first fire. If it cannot do so, it surrenders and is eliminated.
To rally, a disrupted unit must begin its action impulse at least 4 hexes from the nearest enemy unit. If there is any enemy within 3 hexes, it may not rally. See the Rally action section below.
If a disrupted unit suffers an additional disruption result, it is eliminated. If the second disruption occurred during an assault or overrun or when adjacent to any enemy unit, they are considered to have surrendered. Otherwise, they withdrew from the battle as individuals.
A Ready unit that is already disrupted may attempt to rally as an action if and only if it is not within 3 hexes of any enemy unit. Note that spotting ranges and line of sight have no effect on this range restriction. It requires the unit’s full action to make the attempt and it is marked as spent regardless of the result.
Roll 2d6 and compare the result to the rallying unit’s morale. If the die roll is less than or equal to the unit’s morale, it passes and the disruption counter is removed. If the die roll is greater than the unit’s morale, it fails and there is no effect. Global morale demoralization can prevent rally actions; see below.
Global morale and losses
Each side in a scenario will have a morale level specified in the scenario special rules, which may be the same for all units present or might vary for different component of their force. All morale checks are conducted using this scenario set morale for each unit type present, and are never modified according to the circumstances of the check or type of fire received. Note that this is an important modification to the original system rules. Normally, units check moral when they receive M or M1 results on the various combat tables, assuming the fire is of a kind that can affect them. M2 results, AT loss results, and units left after applying X results are always automatically disrupted, with no die roll necessary.
In each scenario, each side will be given 2 global loss limits, one the “shaken” loss level, normally set at 2/3 of engaged steps, and one the “demoralized” loss level, ususally set at 1/2 of engaged steps. Loss limits are always given in terms of total steps lost of all combat units present. Units removed for ammo limitation or exiting the map voluntarily are not considered lost for global loss limit purposes, but all units that surrender, are destroyed by fire, or are eliminated for a second disrupt result, are considered eliminated for this purpose. Unarmed transport units are never included in global morale step loss counts.
When the total step losses taken by a side reach its “shaken” level, the moral rating for all of its units is reduced by 1. This effect is permanent. Reaching the “shaken” level may sometimes have consequences for victory determination. There are no other effects of reaching the “shaken” loss limit.
When the total step losses taken by a side reach its “demoralized” level, that side may not perform rally actions for the remainder of the game. This effect is permanent. Reaching the “demoralized” level often has consequences for victory determination. There are no other effects of reaching the “demoralized” loss limit.
Optional PBEM mode final rally impulse
In Optional PBEM mode only, the main action phase automatically ends after each side has had one opportunity to activate its units. There is then only final PBEM only phase, the PBEM rally phase. In this phase, unspent units from both sides who meet all of the requirements to perform a rally action automatically attempt to rally. Those that pass their checks remove their disruption marker, those that do not remain as they are.
Note that this procedure effectively allows all units that will only rally to defer their rally attempt until the end of the turn, without introducing additional changes of control. A player may still conduct rally attempts during his single action impulse normally if he chooses, marking it as Spent as soon as he does so.
At the end of each game turn, victory conditions are checked to determine whether any “sudden death” victory conditions have been fulfilled, as possibly specified in each scenario. If not and the turn limit has not been reached, play proceeds to the Refresh phase of the next game turn. If the turn limit has been reached, final victory is assessed according to the scenario’s victory conditions.
There are a few types of field fortifications in Simple Panzer Grenadier. This section describes each of them and their effects, while the next section covers obstacles and combat engineering.
Fortified positions are strongly built fighting positions for dismounted units, including guns, machineguns, and infantry. They are placed on the map or designated by scenario special rule and they may never be moved or removed. Vehicles and mounted units are never benefited by fortified positions. They have the following game effects –
-2 modifier for all Direct Fire and Bombardment against leg units in a fortified position hex
-1 modifier for all Assault attacks against leg units in a fortified position hex
Overrun attacks may not be conducted against a fortified position hex
Fortified positions negate all open ground effects in their hex
Disrupted units in a fortified position hex may perform a Rally action unless enemy units are adjacent.
These modifiers are never cumulative with other terrain in the hex; they replace them.
Foxholes are hastily constructed protective positions for dismounted units, including guns, machineguns, and infantry. Mounted units and vehicles never benefit from foxholes (though see “dug in” below). They have the following game effects –
-1 modifier for all attacks against leg units in a foxhole hex
Foxholes negate open ground effects for overrun combats, only.
Dug in vehicles
A vehicle unit that starts the game on the map may be dug in if the scenario rules allow it. A dug in vehicle is considered “hull down” against all AT attacks directed at it. In addition, it benefits from a -1 column modifier against all Bombardment attacks directed at its hex. These benefits are permanently lost if the vehicle ever moves out of its initial dug in position. Place the vehicle under a “dug in” counter to signify its status, and remove the dug in marker from the game if the vehicle ever moves. Dug in vehicle hexes convey no benefits on other units present, only those vehicles placed under it, which must have started there and may never have moved.
Note that certain tanks may receive no AT fire attack modifiers for being Hull Down – these are “weak turret” tanks that had significantly less armor protection to their turret than to their (front) hull. The T-70, T-34 (all models), Panther, and Panzer IV models from F2 through H, are all such weak turret vehicles. The only benefit of being dug in for such vehicles is the Bombardment attack shift in their favor.
Obstacles and combat engineering
There are various types of obstacles in Simple Panzer Grenadier, and their effects are all described in this section. All forms of combat obstacle are subject to neutralization and removal by engineer units during the course of the game. The removal procedure in game terms is the same for all obstacle types, although the actions each represents differ in reality (marking lanes through minefields, blowing gaps in wire, filling in antitank ditches or collapsing their banks, etc.)
Wire obstacles are barriers to movement by all leg units, mounted units, and unarmored vehicles. Mounted units and unarmored vehicles simply cannot enter a wire hex. Leg units may do so, but they must follow a special procedure to enter a wire hex and suffer hazardous movement penalties as long as they remain in a wire hex.
To enter a wire hex, a leg unit must start its action adjacent to the wire. It rolls a normal morale check. If it fails, it is marked as spent and remains where it is. If it succeeds, it is placed in the wire hex and marked as spent. A leg unit that begins its action in a wire hex may move normally in any direction, or may perform any other action is chooses. As long as a leg unit is in a wire hex, regardless of the other terrain in that hex, it is subject to the +1 column shift on all Direct Fire attacks against it for hazardous movement (as though moving in the open under Opportunity Fire). Only Direct Fire benefits from this hazardous movement effect.
Armored vehicles may enter wire hexes simply by paying +1 movement point for the hex. Movement of armored vehicles never removes or degrades wire; only engineer actions can do so (see below).
Assaults may not be conducted against a wire hex. Overruns may be conducted against them normally, and any leg units in the wire hex suffer the penalties of being in open ground regardless of the underlying terrain in the hex.
Mines are obstacles that attack units attempting to move through them. Mines may sometimes be set up by hidden placement if scenario rules allow it. Mines are rated at a certain Bombardment strength, discussed below, and automatically conduct a Bombardment attack against any unit that enters the mine hex, whether it knows the mines are present or not. If a mine Bombardment attack disrupts the moving unit, then it must halt its movement immediately in the mine hex and is marked as Spent. Spent units in a mine hex are always considered to be performing Hazardous movement as above, even if they are conducting other actions or were never disrupted by the mines.
Mines attack vehicles as well as leg units. Mounted units and unarmored vehicles suffer from the +1 column penalty those unit types normally incur for Bombardment attacks. X results are effective against armored vehicles, as with other Bombardment attacks. In addition, M2 results from mine attacks have a special effect on all armored vehicles – the vehicle is permanently immobilized in the mine hex and is immediately marked as Spent. It is not disrupted. An immobilized vehicle may not conduct Move or Overrun actions. All AT fire directed at an immobilized vehicle receives the Flanking Fire benefit of +1 to the AT fire result.
AP minefields have a 12 Bombardment strength, while full AT plus AP fields have a 30 Bombardment strength. Note that this means that an AP minefield has a 1/18 chance of causing armored vehicle immobilization and a 1/6 chance of causing casualties to a moving soft unit (double that for mounted units and unarmored vehicles), while a full AT plus field has a 1/6 chance of causing losses to an armored vehicle and a 1/3 additional chance of immobilizing it. Soft units have a poor chance of traversing such a dense minefield unscathed.
Assaults and overruns may not be conducted against a mine hex. (It will always be a known mine hex because there must be a unit present to be subject to those actions, and that unit’s entry to the hex will have triggered a mine Bombardment attack and revealed the minefield).
AT ditch (or roadblock)
AT ditches and roadblocks are obstacles to vehicle movement. No vehicle nor any mounted unit may enter an AT ditch or roadblock hex at all. Leg units treat an AT ditch or roadblock hex as Gully terrain for all purposes, including Direct Fire defense benefit for infantry unit types, movement cost, etc. Overruns cannot be conduct against such hexes, but Assaults may be conducted against them normally.
Any obstacle can be removed by a combat engineer unit as a special action. The engineer unit needs to begin its action adjacent to the obstacle hex and must be undisrupted. It announces the obstacle it is attempting to clear and rolls a normal morale check. If it succeeds, the obstacle is removed immediately and the engineer unit is marked as Spent. If it fails the morale check, it is marked as Spent, with no further effects. Any number of engineer units adjacent to an obstacle may attempt to remove it, and each may see the result of the other’s actions before announcing its own. Engineering attempts never trigger Reaction and are not considered movement, and therefore do not trigger Opportunity Fire.
Optional PBEM mode
The PBEM mode is designed for games played remotely e.g. using VASSAL or Cyberboard, with game state files sent back and forth by email. Therefore, interactive decisions in real time need to be eliminated completely to ensure the game can move along.
In PBEM mode, the initiative player must activate all the units he plans to activate in his first impulse. Each is still activated and resolves its actions one after another. Ignore all rules about Reactions in the normal rules. A unit that is left unspent when control is passed to the opponent can only perform two possible activities later in the turn – opportunity fire or rally.
If it is in good order (not disrupted), it conducts opportunity fire at a moving enemy unit *that moves adjacent to it* (1 hex range only), and automatically does so if it has any chance of harming the moving unit. The active player resolves this opportunity fire against his moving unit himself, without a change in control.
If a unit is disrupted and unspent at the end of the turn after both sides have moved, and it is otherwise eligible to perform a rally action (more than 3 hexes from any enemy unit – see rally rules below), then it attempts to rally before the turn ends.
If neither of these possible actions comes up, that unit simply performs no action on that game turn.
All opportunity fire in PBEM mode is restricted to the kind described above. The player moving second makes no active decision in the matter; if the active player moves any of his units adjacent to an unspent and undisrupted enemy unit that can hurt the moving unit, that unit automatically conducts opportunity fire at the moving unit. The moving player resolves that fire himself and implements its results immediately, without change in control. Then he continues his turn.
The PBEM mode is purely intended to eliminate the need for changes of control within a given game turn, in order to speed play. Unless otherwise specified above, all normal rules remain in effect. If any normal rule would require more than the one “scheduled” change in control after the Initiative player has taken all the actions he wishes to take, ignore that rule.
Specific Unit Value Revisions
Many unit values are adjusted in Simple Panzer Grenadier in the interest of realism. Armor values and AT fire ratings receive the most extensive revisions, but some direct fire values are also adjusted.
T-70 is given (1) armor value in Kursk South Face. It actually had –
45@30 lower hull, resists like 52mm
35@60 upper hull, resists like 70mm
60@0 turret face, resists like 60mm
35@0 turret sides, resists like 35mm
This means the frontal and turret side protection is comparable to a Panzer IIIL. The T-70 was all around comparable to a Panzer III, H to L model depending on whether it had APCR for its gun, since the Russian 45mm was about the power of the 50L42 with plain AP, and rose to the power of the 50L60 using sub-caliber tungsten ammo. The main drawback of the T-70 was actually its 1 man turret, as well as limited firepower against infantry and soft targets.
Shermans are given (3) armor value everywhere. Actually the front runs 89mm to 100mm effective thickness, fully meriting a (4) armor value.
M10, M18, and M36 US TDs are all given a (2) armor value. Actually the M18 was very thin, only (1), but the M10 and M18 had 76mm equivalent front on hull and turret, fully meriting a (3) armor value, and making them better protected than a late Panzer IV. The M36B1 had a full Sherman’s armor layout and merits a (4).
The US 57mm ATG is given only a 3-6 AT rating. In fact it had better penetration than a 75L38 and fully merits a 5-7 rating. The British kept 6 pdr tanks around in 1943 because they were better AT weapons than 75mm tanks, which were better at HE work against infantry and guns. It was only later 75mm ammo improvements, specifically APCBC rounds, that brought the US 75mm in line with the AT performance of the 6 pdr, whether in UK, US, or Russian service.
US 75mm and Russian 76mm only merit 4 AT rating until ammo improvements raise them to 5 rating, which only happens in 1944. (That is APCBC for the western allies and APCR for the Russians, which extended the life of the 76L42 in the era of 85mm guns).
The German 50L42 is given a (3) which is too generous, it was a quite weak gun only worthy of a (2). The 50L60 only deserves a (3), not the (4) it is given in the game. The game ratings are sensible for APCR out of these guns, so see the optional rule below about that. But with plain AP PzGr 39, they were quite weak AT weapons by later war standards. The 50L60 was certainly never as capable as even the early 75L38 or Russian 76L42. Russian 45mm is (2) throughout 1942, and rises to a (3) in mid 1943 when better ammo became available for it (and later models of the towed 45mm ATG achieved higher muzzle velocities, as well).
If one likes, as a scenario special rule one may allow +1 to the AT firepower ratings for German 50L42 and 50L60 when and as those tanks are meant to be depicted as being supplied with a significant quantity of APCR ammunition (PzGr 40). That can raise their ratings to 3 for the 50L42 and 4 for the 50L60. The same may be applied to the towed 50L60 PAK – raise it to the game’s 4 if and only if one wishes to depict them as having abundant APCR. Note that historically this was much more common with the 50L60 weapons from mid 1942 until the end of 1943. Both before and after that period, APCR was quite scarce, and it was never uniformly available even in its peak period. A scenario rule might specify only 50L60 are (4), or that only towed PAK get this benefit, or even limit the number of (4) shots per unit to just 1-3 attacks, to reflect limited but non-zero stocks of APCR ammunition by unit type.
Better is to use an optional rule that allows any of these units to use its higher AT rating but with a 9+ depletion number for that ammunition type. Once that unit has rolled that high on an AT attack using its higher rating, it reverts to its lower one for the rest of the game. The same can be used with HEAT ammunition for howitzers, APCR for US 76mm TDs and late model Shermans, etc.
The US 76mm, Russian 85mm, and all versions of the German 75mm (L43 L46 L48) are all very close to each other in AT capability, and merit the same 6-7 to 6-8 rating. The game gives some German 75mm vehicles 5-8, as though there is a huge difference between the earlier 75L43 and the slightly better 75L48 – there isn’t. The Germans really go from 3-4 with the 50L60 straight to 6 with the PAK 40 and its AFV versions.
The Panzer IV is given an absurd (5) armor rating as though it were a heavy tank. It simply wasn’t, it was an “eggshell with hammer” design by late war standards. It only merits a (3) armor rating, as do the latest model Panzer IIIs, the T-70, or the US M-10. The StuG IV and StuG deserve only the same (3) rating, as well. The smaller Hetzer, though, deserves a better (4) for its well sloped armor, and the Jagdpanzer IV deserves the (5) given in the game to its turreted cousin. The Jagdpanther is even better protected than the Panther, lacking its vulnerable turret front (and shot trap), meriting a full (7) rating. The Tiger I and Panther both merit a (6). The Tiger I does have thicker sides, but its front hull and the Panther’s front turret are both protected by only 100-110mm effective armor thickness.
The T-34 is better protected than the Sherman and merits a (5) as early as the “C” model. Only the T-34A and B models had a weaker turret deserving of a (4). (45mm on the A, 52mm on the B, vs 70mm on the C and later T-34/85 models). The C is also the first to have a radio and better vision for the commander. In Simple Panzer Grenadier, this is reflected by the A and B models sharing the “limited turret” spotting range drawback, while the C is not.
The KV-1 is a (5), correctly, though before 1944 its gun only merits a 4-6, not a 5-6 rating. The KV-85 sacrificed armor for speed and merits only a (4) armor rating; it gun and armor terms it is akin to a 76mm Sherman and marginally worse than the later T-34/85.
Several Russian SUs are given very low armor ratings for no sensible reason. Almost all deserve a (4) rating for slope, thickness, or both. The ISU models deserve a (5). Only the SU-76 deserves a low (2) rating for AT protection. And the SU-100 was extremely well protected, almost Jagdpanther levels, and merits a (6) armor rating.
The original game gives US 105mm HEAT from towed and SP 105mm guns, both on M4(105) and Priests, 5-6 ratings. This is low on the penetration but too generous on the range. US 105mm HEAT reliably penetrated 100-110mm of armor, making it effective against both Tiger I hull fronts and Panther turret fronts. It also was fully effective against T-34/85s in Korea. The difficulty was simply getting hits at range with the low velocity round. It merits a 6-4 rating, not a 5-6 – similar penetration to the US 76mm but half the range. As noted above, the HEAT ammo may be limited by using a 9+ depletion for it. Once HEAT is depleted, 105mm howitzers only merit at 4-4 AT rating.
US 37mm in fact performs between the 50L42 and the 50L60, but a (2) rating is fine for it as well as the 50L42. The German guns were just given too high ratings in the game; the rating for the US 37mm is fair. So is the armor rating of (2) for the Stuart tank. A later model “Panzer III Special” outclasses a Stuart because it is a 3-3 armor and AT attack tank against a 2-2 one. An earlier Pz III with 50L42 gun and before their late 1942 uparmoring is a much more even match.
Panzer IVEs with 75L24 guns are given a 4-4 AT rating in the game, and a (4) armor rating. They only merit a (2) armor rating – they were 50mm front vehicles without slope benefit – and the AP ability of the short 75mm was only comparable to that of the 50L42 guns, meaning a (2). In 1943 using HEAT ammo they may merit the (3) given to other such guns, but that is all. Fighting even early model T-34As with Panzer IIIs with 50L42 and Panzer IVs with 75L24 was not easy and required “flank and close” tactics.
And against KV-1s they were nearly hopeless. That is why all the combat accounts stress the German use of towed guns, especially 88mm Flak, to deal with Russian heavies in the early war. So, all 75L24 AFVs get 2-4 AT ratings before 1943 and 3-4 from the beginning of 1943 until the end of the war.
The German “French 75” PAK gun should be a (4) AT rating, like the US 75L38 or Russian 76L42 before ammo improvements. All German Marders deserve a 6-8 AT rating, making them the first extremely effective mobile weapons against Russian heavy tanks. Marders should have a (2) armor rating, as they were 50mm front vehicles, not paper thin.
The 88L56 on the Tiger I and the towed Flak 18/36 that was basically equivalent to it were not that much stronger than the long 75mm, or Russian 85mm gun. It merits a 7-8 (Tiger) or 7-9 (towed) rating, not the 8 it is given in the game. It did not have the penetrating power of either the British 17 pdr, the German’s own 75L70 on the Panther, or the US 90mm gun. Those do deserve an 8 AT rating. The Russian 85mm AAs comparable 7-8 rating can stand. The Panther main gun 75L70 fully deserves the 8-8 rating it gets in the game.
Note that overall, the Panther is a better tank than the Tiger I after all of these changes are applied. It has a superior gun at 8-8 vs 7-8, and equal armor with both getting a (6) armor rating. It is also faster. The real weakness of the Panther was only weaker side armor. If you want to be perfect about it, the flanking bonus against a Panther could be +2 while that vs the Tiger would be only +1. From the front, the Tiger’s turret is stronger and hull weaker, while with the Panther it is the reverse. The hull is a better plate to have as the superior one, since it is a larger area and hit more often. The Tiger is a bit better hull down – again, a perfectionist implementation would disallow the +1 hull down benefit to weak turret tanks like the Panther and the Panzer IV, without changing the armor ratings. Hits are still less likely vs a hull down tank, but become more likely to hit their more vulnerable plates, giving back on armor what was gained on raw hit probability.
Among German towed guns, the 75/41 is a misunderstanding. Virtually all German 75mm towed PAK were 40 models, but those are 6-8 like those shown on the 75/41 counters the game provides. The 50mm PAK is not a 4-8, however, but only a 3-7. As discussed above, if it has abundant APCR ammunition by scenario special rule, if merits a 4-7 rating. The AT rating of the towed 105mm howitzer deserves a 6-4 as with the US ones, for effective but low velocity HEAT. This also applies to the StuH assault gun.
The SPW-251/9 halftrack with 75mm gun mounted the same 75L24 short barreled howitzer used on early model Panzer IVs. As such, it should be a 2-4 or 3-4 AT weapon, the latter with HEAT ammunition, not the 5-8 it is given in the game, which clearly misunderstood its gun type and thought it had a 75L43.
The Russian SU-122 also merits a 6-4 AT rating, for the same reason. However, it deserves a higher 16-5 Direct fire rating, while the SU-76 deserves only the 10-5 we see on the SU-122 in the original game. Note that both deserve a 5 range however, as with the 76L42 on T-34s for example. Yes they were used in direct fire, but their relatively low muzzle velocities weren’t any worse than 105mm vehicles or T-34s.
Several AA type vehicles are given absurd direct fire ratings, the game designers being overly impressed with rate of fire generally, compared to larger shells with more powerful HE effects. The US quad 50 cal halftrack only merits a 12 DF attack factor, for example, and the 1x37mm plus 2×50 cal version merits the same, with better AT.
The Grille SPA should have its 12-15 rating as Bombardment, not Direct fire. They weren’t fired at 3 km ranges on a flat trajectory, and if they are given their full indirect fire 15 range, it must be as bombardment fire. They certainly should not be able to Opportunity Fire at such ranges, for example. Also, their 150mm HE rounds are powerful enough they should have some chance of hurting armored vehicles.
Most Kubelwagen were unarmed and they don’t deserve their 2-4 Direct fire rating.
The Lend Lease Churchills in Kursk Southern deserve a 5-7 AT rating for their 6 pdr gun, as with the others discussed above. The 1943 era IV models depicted here are correct to get a (4) armor rating, while later 1944 models, VII and later, were better protected than a Tiger I, and deserve a full (7) (6 inches front armor, 95mm sides vs 82mm).
Some sample match ups with the full application of these changes to game gun and armor values, plus the revised AT fire system (colored die +1, limited available modifiers), to illustrate important match ups and eras.
1944 era Sherman vs a Panzer IV with long gun is 5-4 vs 6-3. Each has a native +2 armor modifier shot vs the other, which the Panzer IV having an edge at very long range, being able to fire (with only 0 net armor modifier, due to range adjustment) at ranges 7 or 8 hexes, where the Sherman cannot reply. At ranges of 5-6 hexes, both sides have a net +1 armor modifier, including the range. Range 2-4 hexes, both have a +2, and at 1 hex both have +3 rating. Without other modifiers, these give 39% (long), 56% (medium), and 72% (point blank) chance of causing at least a step loss, with increasing chances of whole unit elimination as well.
In 1943, the T-34 models C vs the same Panzer IV is a 4-5 vs 6-3 match up, which means it is still even, but the kill chances on both sides are lower per shot. The T-34 is better protected, but its ammo hasn’t improved yet as with the ETO era Sherman, so its gun is weaker. At 7-8 hexes the Panzer IV has a 25% chance of a step loss vs no reply. At 5-6 hexes both sides have that same 25% chance of the same hit. At 2-4 hexes that rises to 39% on each side, and 56% at point blank. The StuG III or StuG IV have the same match ups against the same standard Allied main battle tanks. Marders have the same kill chances, but aren’t as well protected and raise the reply fire kill chances by one tier.
A T-34C model in 1943 facing a Tiger I is clearly outmatched. The Tiger is +2 at ranges 2-4 hexes, meaning a 56% chance of a loss or better. The reply at those ranges needs a 12, which is only a 5.5% chance with the colored die modifier included. So the Tiger is a 10-1 favorite in that range window, assuming neither side has a flank shot or similar. At longer range, the Tiger has a 39% chance of hits vs no effective reply by the T-34, which is better off moving to lower the Tiger’s hit chance to 25%, while closing the range. At point blank, frontal fire, the Tiger’s kill chance rises to 72%, while the T-34s rises to 14%. The Tiger is still a 5-1 favorite, but that is better than the odds at the longer ranges. If a whole company of T-34s makes it to 1 hex range at different hexes around the Tiger platoon, ensuring that 2/3 get the flanking bonus, their combined chance of at least one causing a step loss is 52%. Clearly this will be an expensive way to take out a Tiger I platoon, but it is possible.
Consider a Panther fighting against any of the SU-85, 76mm Sherman, or a KV-85. All of these give an 8-6 German fighting a 6-4 allied AFV. The Allies in these situations do have a 25% chance of effective fire at ranges 2-4 hexes, and 14% chance at longer ranges. But the German replies use +4 (close) or +3 net armor modifiers, meaning 83% to 72% chances of causing loss. The German is a 3.3 to 5 to 1 favorite depending on the range. If the allies can get to 1 hex range, the German is still a favorite, but now 83% vs 37% or 2.25 to 1, something numbers might be able to handle. The T-34/85 is somewhat better since the German replies are 55% (long), 72% (medium), and 83% only at short range, but that is still 2.25, 2.9, or 4 to 1, the odds ratio rising as the range lengthens.
The revised system leaves the true German superior types terrors to the middle or slightly upgunned portion of the Allied AFV fleets, therefore. The match up for plain vanilla German AFV types (III and IV based) are however basically even, with the upgunned allied types superior on the armor side and matching those vanilla AFVs in gun power.
Go back to 1941 or even most of 1942, on the other hand, and it is the German early war AFV fleet that finds the Russian KV-1 and T-34 models the terrors of the armor war. The Germans start with guns with 2 AT ratings, 3 with superior ammo or from some towed PAK, while facing Russian tanks with 5 and 4 armor defense ratings. If the Germans have 88 Flak around, or 105mm howitzers at close enough range, they can deal with tanks this well protected with their towed guns. Their basic Panzer 38s, Panzer IIIs, and Panzer IV shorts need close range flank shots, while the replies will readily kill them at range.
In 1942, the Germans can lean on Marders that get +1 net armor modifier, but face +2 net armor modifier replies. Their late model long Panzer IIIs face +1 shots with -2 or -1 shots themselves, the latter only if they have APCR. They are looking at hit chances like 25% if they have a flank shot and APCR. Of course, not all Russian tanks of this period are KV-1s or T-34Bs, any more than all German tanks of the late war are Tigers or Panthers. A Panzer III long can fight a T-70 just fine, and the early war Russian lights (T-26, BT-7) are not in the same weight class as the whole German tank fleet (1 armor and a 2 AT power main gun in that era). But it is the German who face an “enemy heavies” dilemma in this early war period, just as the allies face one in the late war against German Tigers, Panthers, and advanced tank destroyers.