The first outing for the newly painted Paras is a game using the Rate of Fire rules from Crusader Publishing. We started off years ago using Rules of Engagement for WW2 platoon level, then switched to Disposable Heroes as it handled a larger number of vehicles. Originally Rate of Fire didn’t have vehicles, but with the publication of the vehicle supplement, it was time to give them a go. From reading the rules, I find the somewhat Squad Leader use of a stationary and moving fire phase interesting, and the artillery rules with calling in fire and fire-for-effect (also smoke dispersal over several turns) also owe something to board games, but this is no bad thing.
The airborne troops have landed by glider and have to take the stone bridge at the top right of the table. The Germans start off hidden until spotted or they fire, but the bunkers and dugouts look like obvious places for MGs. The airborne plane is for a 2-pronged approach, sending 2nd squad through the town off to their right, whilst the 1st squad and the HQ squad attack the main bunker head-on before turning right towards the bridge, which is covered by an HMG.
Covered by their Bren team, the 2nd squad ran across the street at full tilt. The HMG and an LMG declared op fire at them (they are the”OP” markers in the photo). 1st squad crossed the hedge whilst their bren team moved into position to provide covering fire. As the Germans have no movement, it was on to the stationary fire phase, where all units that have not moved get to fire. Both German LMGs get to fire at the Para squad crossing the street, one at long range and one a normal range. The long range shot gets a -1 for the range, but +1 for being in the open against stationary fire, and a further +1 for going at the double, so 3 dice @3+ to hit. An average 2 hits out of 3 are scored, and with a further 2 rolls of 4+ to kill, 2 casualtires are inflicted. The normal range LMG has an even better chance of hitting, as it gets the plus modifiers, but not the minus for range, so 2+ to hit and 4+ to kill. The fact that you got bonuses for op fire at a fast moving target was a bit puzzling, as you would have thought that it would be harder to hit rather than easier – maybe I mis-read the rules here. Anyway, 2nd squad took 3 casualties in total. Their Bren gun returned fire at the 2nd LMG, but rolling 3 dice @ 4+ to hit +1 for range -1 for cover, then needing 5+ to kill because of the cover – no casualties.
The German rifle squad behind the stone wall opened up on 1st squad dashing across the field. Although 5 rifles firing at long range and across a hindrence (the wall on the other side of the field) gave them a -2 to hit (so a 6), the fact that the paras were moving in the open and at the double in the open brought the to hit roll back to 4+ which seemed a bit generous. Luckily for the paras, all rolls missed. The same modifiers applied to the HMG at the bridge, and he was unlucky with his dice rolling as well, causing just 1 casualty.
On to the morale phase – every section which has lost a figure has to take a morale test, and only the paras have suffered casualties. Their morale is 3+, meaning they have to roll 3 or more on a D6 to avoid suppression, but they have to add +1 to the score needed for every casualty. For squad 1 this becomes 4+ which they pass, but for squad 2 with 3 casualties, this becomes 6+ and they fail.
The next turn starts with a rally phase however, so 2nd squad get a chance to rally right away. Again their base is 3+, but only have a +1 as they are trying to rally – the casualties are ignored, and they rally needing 4+. The initiative phase is next, and the paras win, so move first. 1st squad’s rifle section move up to the field wall, while squad 2 rifle section in the town moves cautiously between buildings. The HQ squad cross a hedge in an attempt to get into a fire support position for 1st squad.
On to the stationary fire phase. In the town, a German rifle section opened up on 2nd squad with 1 SMG and 2 rifles causing 1 casualty, even with the +1 to hit for cautious movement.
Unfortunately for the Paras 1st squad who had just reached the wall, they were now in the sights of 2 LMGs, and HMG and a rifle section with a Panzerfaust and took 4 casualties. In return, their covering Bren guns only inflicted a single casualty on an LMG team. In the moving fire phase, Para 1st squad lobbed everything they had (including their PIAT) at the German section behind the wall, but only caused a single casualty.