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Author Topic: World War One Tanks  (Read 368 times)
hamsterking
Second Lieutenant
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Posts: 115


« on: 04 October 2019, 07:22:43 AM »

I know this is a little outside BKC IVs formal remit but I'm looking at using the rule-set to cover some 1918 Western Front gaming. I think that the existing rules will cover the setting with only minor tweaking. However what it doesn't cover is stats for Tanks - other than the Renault Ft 17 which is covered in the French WW2 list. Has anyone given any thought as to what stats for British Mark I to V in both Male and Female versions might look like ?

Dave Turner
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fred.
Major General
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Posts: 4897



WWW
« Reply #1 on: 04 October 2019, 07:27:28 AM »

I think for WWI tanks, I would set the stats relative to each other, rather than try to set them from WWII tanks. Otherwise I think you will end up with all the WWI ones being 6+ save and 3 hits, as they are so weak compared to the later WWII ones.

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steve_holmes_11
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« Reply #2 on: 04 October 2019, 09:08:43 AM »

I can't speak for these rules, but when I was interested in WW2, a few sets of rules were backdated to WW1 editions.

Most completely rehashed the way tanks work, I can think of these major differences.

1. Most move at only infantry speeds on the normal battlefield.
2. Mechanical reliability is poor.
3. No radios or mass deployment doctrine.
4. Vulnerable to infantry (if their nerve holds).

A tank of the era is usually shrapnel-proof, generally bullet-proof and most likely to come a cropper through bogging or breakdown.
It's main benefit is conferring mobility to a machineguns and light or field guns.
It's effect usually owes more to morale than material, and defending infantry who held their nerve could often defeat the tank.

The morale effect is interesting.
A big negative on the defending infantry - the effect of which declined with familiarity.
Also a big boost for the accopanying attacking infantry - something to hide behind, something to draw the enemy fire and something to punch that initial hole to kick off the trench clearing.
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Big Insect
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Posts: 498


« Reply #3 on: 04 October 2019, 09:12:27 AM »

I agree with fred here .... I am currently looking at a Great War Commander rules set, but it is a way down the list of to-be-dones, behind CWCII and FWCII and another major rules project.

I'd look at the effect that the tanks have, rather than any attempt to make comparisons with WW2 tanks:
    • They were notoriously prone to mechanical breakdown for example
      They were also very slow
      They were much more vulnerable to area fire artillery than WW2 tanks
      Whilst their main role was to break through massed barbed wire obstacles, they could often get tangled in it
      Their fields of fire could be very restricted (in many ways they should be multiple armed - especially MkV Male tanks with guns on either flank) but they have blind spots to front & rear
It's also a fun concept to have your British tank commander (HQ) walking forward on foot, revolver in hand, as happened in reality!!!!

I'd be really interested in where you get to with the various tank stats ... a fun project.[/list]
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Steve J
Lieutenant General
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Posts: 7463


« Reply #4 on: 04 October 2019, 09:27:55 AM »

They have some tank stats that Pete Jones did on the 'old' forum in the battlegroup generator, just select the AVBCW option and you will see some WWI tanks in there.
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Big Insect
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« Reply #5 on: 04 October 2019, 09:32:21 AM »

I think the moral aspect (as Steve states) is critical and is something I am working on as a mechanism ... "Tank Terror"!

The other thing is how to make Massed Infantry movement work.
We have a new rules mechanism, which we have tested and that will appear in the Spanish Civil War PDF supplement (to be released later in the year - fingers crossed) to help fascilitate massed infantry unit movement - called Line Commander. It will make the massed movement of formations of infantry a lot easier.

I'd also suggest that you consider using Fixed Formations as standard for WW1 games. Also Rigid Tac.Doc. unless doing Trench Raiding in the later end of the war, when Flexible Tac.Doc would be acceptable.
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sunjester
Colonel
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Posts: 1457



« Reply #6 on: 04 October 2019, 11:17:17 AM »

We have used various WW1 tanks in our VBCW games, admittidly scalling down from WW2 tanks so, as fred says, they were quite similar with regard to armour. We did reinstate a rule from 1st ed BKC and allow mgs to suppress early tanks.
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Matt J
Colonel
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Posts: 1467


...nana?


« Reply #7 on: 04 October 2019, 11:53:01 AM »

I've read about tanks at the Somme being effectively taken out by sustained machine gun fire. Bullets and fragments going through the gun ports and shredding the crew.
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Steve J
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« Reply #8 on: 04 October 2019, 12:10:07 PM »

I saw a programme on Netflix about the development of the tank, and IIRC, the German A7V could be penetrated by a pistol shot at close range. So not very good really.
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fred.
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WWW
« Reply #9 on: 04 October 2019, 07:15:02 PM »

I've read about tanks at the Somme being effectively taken out by sustained machine gun fire. Bullets and fragments going through the gun ports and shredding the crew.

What was common was that hits on the outside, could cause bits of armour to fly off on the inside (spalling) and these flying bits of armour could be just as deadly as the original munitions hitting the tank.
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Wulf
Colonel
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Posts: 1335


« Reply #10 on: 04 October 2019, 10:39:51 PM »

Yep, WWI tank crew frequently wore 'chainmail' face masks to protect against spall and flying rivet heads...
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steve_holmes_11
Captain
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Posts: 492


« Reply #11 on: 05 October 2019, 11:26:52 AM »

What was common was that hits on the outside, could cause bits of armour to fly off on the inside (spalling) and these flying bits of armour could be just as deadly as the original munitions hitting the tank.

Not to mention rivets all over the shop, each waiting to ping about the inside like a demented pinball.
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ianrs54
Playtester
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WWW
« Reply #12 on: 05 October 2019, 12:36:30 PM »

The major problem with the British Heavies was splash, molten lead entering via small gaps between the plates. The A7V had heavier armour, but was top heavy and had a tendency to fall over. So I doubt that one was knocked out with a pistol shot. Mk I and II were vulnerable to reversed rifle bullets, I assume that caused more "splash", and by 1917 MG08 had armour piercing bullets, but they were marginally effective against the Mk IV and V.

Rules wise - give them lots of hits but a 6 save, and carry forward the damage. Allow small arms to suppress as well ?

IanS
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Prophaniti
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Posts: 25


« Reply #13 on: 05 October 2019, 05:51:34 PM »

I'd be tempted to add an AT value to HMGs and units and remove the only hit on 6s rule for Anti tank rifles for WW1.
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hamsterking
Second Lieutenant
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Posts: 115


« Reply #14 on: 08 October 2019, 05:56:47 AM »

Thanks for the feedback to date. 
a) I think I'll start with a MV of 10 and use the standard unreliable rule
b) I would at least trial using a (CA 5, Hits 5 and Save of 6) formulation. Note that these stats are for in-period encounters only - the relatively high CA value for example reflects the terror that these early tanks caused to opponents.
c) I like the idea of giving MGs an AT value (Perhaps 1/20 ?) While it is true that MG fire could produce lots of spalling in the interior of the tank I'm not sure that this was actually a Tank killing phenomenon - it reads more like suppression in BKC terms. I have the sense that the real vulnerability of Tanks to MGs was because of inadequately protected fuel tanks.
d) Field Guns firing over open sights were certainly deadly to these early tanks. Giving then a AT rating of 3/60 seems to be about right. Curiously some sources note that direct fire by Mortars was also pretty deadly though given the nature of the German Minenwerfers I remain to be convinced.
e) Working out the firing values and arcs of the Mrk IV tanks I am interested in is proving to be a bit of a nightmare. There were 3 basic armament set-ups - Male, Female and Combined and the actual arcs of fire were also affected by what combination of Hotchkiss and/or Lewis Guns the tank carried. Still thinking about the model as a platoon of 4 tanks rather than a single tank does somewhat simplify the formulation. Perhaps AP values of 3/50 for Male tanks and 3/40 for Female Tanks would be about right ? I'm not sure if these numbers should be reduced when firing directly ahead and Tanks would of course have a blind spot in their rear arc.

Of course the only way to test if these numbers work out will be to put the models on the table and run through a couple of scenarios. So that's what I'll do and report back when i have reached some conclusions.

Dave Turner
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