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Weapons Platoons and HQ


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I've always wondered how best to utilize Weapons Platoons, especially the HQ. I'm curious about common practices among experienced users.

I think I have a pretty good handle on the ideal way to use mortars and MG's. Ideally mortars can be kept towards the rear of the map with the Weapons Platoon HQ (or Company HQ) near enough to receive indirect fire mission requests via radio and pass them on by voice command.

With regard to MG's, I usually look at the map and my plan of attack and apportion them among the rifle platoons as seems best.

Sometimes mortars might also be advanced with rifle platoons to provide direct fire support.

So in cases where the Weapons Platoon squads are parceled out to other platoons, what is the best use of the Weapons Platoon HQ? He can't be everywhere in communication with his squads, except perhaps by radio connection with rifle platoon HQ's.

How do you best handle these situations?

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It depends on what you are using your supporting weapons for.

Mortars are best stationary with a "Fire Direction Center" unit nearby (usually one of the MTR platoon HQ units). The MTR platoon HQ or Weapons platoon HQ can then be used as an extra forward observer for your mtrs.

MGs are often pushed forward to support your attack. Best used in a support by fire position where their longer range will keep them out of range of most small arms (if the terrain will allow). The weapons platoon HQ can be used to C2 those guns once the rifle platoons move forward, leaving the MGs behind. You can then move the MGs up when you need them and they stay under control of a HQ unit and gain those benefits.

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If you've only got the one means of keeping your mortars in the support fire loop, keep your HQ near one of them (or near the largets concentration if you've got such a thing), even if they're being pushed towards the front line for direct lay fire. That way, you've got at least one tube that can be brought to bear indirectly.

Ideally, your MG teams shouldn't need too much in the way of HQ hand-holding, since they'll be sitting back, dishing out more than they take. And if by some mischance they end up under a mortar barrage or getting spotted and shelled by a tank, having the HQ about probably won't be much of a mitigation of the disaster.

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I also have found the use of support and mortar HQ's confusing.

I used to use the Mortar HQ's as spotters/FO's but I understand that is NOT the way to use em.

So, to confirm, mortar HQ's (both Platoon and Section HQ's?) should stay close to their mortars. Other HQ's or FO's should do the spotting.

Re MG's, what happens when one wants to apportion them out to various platoons? In that instance, the MG section and platoon HQ's are usually OOC radius. Do other HQ's, like the infantry platoon HQ's take over as support weapon HQ?

Or, in RL are all MG's kept together within range of their section or platoon HQ's?

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Or, in RL are all MG's kept together within range of their section or platoon HQ's?

I think that depends on which army we are talking of and the tactical situation. In the attack you might want to keep them close together to use their massed firepower at a decisive point. In defending situations, you might want to spread them around a bit to ensure that there are no gaps in your setup.

Michael

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I also have found the use of support and mortar HQ's confusing.

I used to use the Mortar HQ's as spotters/FO's but I understand that is NOT the way to use em.

So, to confirm, mortar HQ's (both Platoon and Section HQ's?) should stay close to their mortars. Other HQ's or FO's should do the spotting.

Re MG's, what happens when one wants to apportion them out to various platoons? In that instance, the MG section and platoon HQ's are usually OOC radius. Do other HQ's, like the infantry platoon HQ's take over as support weapon HQ?

Or, in RL are all MG's kept together within range of their section or platoon HQ's?

Exactly. You stated the questions more clearly than I did. I hope we get a number of comments so we can get a handle on any differing approaches to the matter.

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I ran into this Weapons Platoon question squarely in my most recently played scenario, the CMBN version of the old CMBO scenario, A Chance Encounter. There was no location where you could set up the MG's in the rear and have LOS to the locations of battle. You simply HAD to either commit the entire W.Platoon to one axis of advance, or apportion them out.

I chose to move them up the middle with their HQ and maintain my options depending on how my left and right axes developed. They ended up on the left in what proved to be a backwater for the battle. It helped that I received another WP as reinforcements for the right, where they proved useful.

My next scenario will be another old CMBO offering, Valley Of Trouble.

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I don't know for sure about real life, but I think the rigid command structure of the game in QBs, and the cost for replacing weapons platoon MG squads with "specialist unit" MG squads directly attached to a platoon means that most of the time your MGs will be out of C2. Other platoon HQs will certainly not take over C2 relay roles. That reminds me of one refinement I omitted in my post above: you can use your Company and Battalion HQs to put (some of) your support weapons back into C2 if they're out of reach of their platoon commanders.

As I said, though, your MGs suffer very little detriment for being out of C2; they shouldn't be in positions where their morale will be tested, really, so you can scatter them will-ye nil-ye all over the field.

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"...your Company and Battalion HQs to put (some of) your support weapons back into C2 if they're out of reach of their platoon commanders."

Is the limitation that the support units are subordinate to those Co and Bn HQ's. Or is there some other limitation even if the support weapons are part of the same battalion?

(It still bothers me that this sort of stuff isn't in the manual. Heaven knows how many thousand of posts we've seen on these issues, and they still keep cropping up.)

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I believe that a higher echelon HQ can only provide "substitute" C2 links to:

  • its subordinate elements;
  • within voice and/or sight range;
  • specifically excluding distant sight, and radio.

I'm pretty sure that's written in the manual, though it's probably not a bullet point.

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When you said C2, I was thinking of leadership advantages of having any sort of HQ nearby.

Other than that, presumably there is no disadvantage to having MG's/support weapons (other than mortars) widely separated/out of C2 from their HQ.

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When you said C2, I was thinking of leadership advantages of having any sort of HQ nearby.

Other than that, presumably there is no disadvantage to having MG's/support weapons (other than mortars) widely separated/out of C2 from their HQ.

And isn't that precisely the question we're asking?

Of COURSE you need SOME kind of HQ up the WP's chain of command to receive fire requests for mortars. (Caps for emphasizing what is already understood, not shouting.) That's a given.

The question I think on my mind, at least, is one of WP MG squads' combat effectiveness (following orders, resistance to panic, etc.) or lack thereof when the WP HQ is not in C2 with the them. I assume their effectiveness is better when in C2 with the WP HQ.

Thus if you parcel out the MG squads, according to this assumption, you are sacrificing leadership benefits from the unit HQ. And yet it seem from my battles that parceling them out is usually required.

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What I think Womble said is that support weapons like MG's and mortars should be kept so far from the action that HQ leadership doesn't matter.

Of course in many maps there are no long LOS and support weapons, especially MG's have to get too close for their own comfort.

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What I think Womble said is that support weapons like MG's and mortars should be kept so far from the action that HQ leadership doesn't matter.

Understood, that's the ideal.

Of course in many maps there are no long LOS and support weapons, especially MG's have to get too close for their own comfort.

That's often the reality. I guess what I'm seeing is that (unless someone chips in to the contrary) there is no easy, standard solution to this conundrum. You just have to make compromises and judgments, weighing your options and taking chances if necessary. Hmmm... Sounds like warfare.

Thanks everybody for contributing.

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When you said C2, I was thinking of leadership advantages of having any sort of HQ nearby.

That's exactly what I meant. The leadership advantages of HQs are, AIUI, confined to morale issues, and I personally don't often find my MG teams to be in a position where that's much of an issue.

The question I think on my mind, at least, is one of WP MG squads' combat effectiveness (following orders, resistance to panic, etc.) or lack thereof when the WP HQ is not in C2 with the them. I assume their effectiveness is better when in C2 with the WP HQ.

It is, but I don't find it often to be the case.

Thus if you parcel out the MG squads, according to this assumption, you are sacrificing leadership benefits from the unit HQ. And yet it seem from my battles that parceling them out is usually required.

Indeed.

What I think Womble said is that support weapons like MG's and mortars should be kept so far from the action that HQ leadership doesn't matter.

Not should. Can.

Of course in many maps there are no long LOS and support weapons, especially MG's have to get too close for their own comfort.

I tend to find that if an MG is firing on the enemy from close range, the enemy aren't doing much firing back ("...never send an MG where a platoon hasn't been," if you like, to finish of the "Never send..." heirarchy). If what's firing back turns out to be bulletproof or indirect, having C2 morale bonuses isn't going to noticeably change the outcome.

And if you've got a Wpns platoon, you've probably got a Company HQ and possibly a Battalion HQ which can move up with the MGs and give at least two of them a bit of backbone-stiffening, if you feel it's warranted.

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