Saturday 17 December 2016

Getting Units Moving

In several games with new players, we spent quite a bit of time working out how best to get a stationary company or battalion moving.

The order system is key to the play of BRIGADIER GENERAL COMMANDS and you will want to use it effectively to achieve your objectives.

So let us consider an example battalion and talk through the options.

Our example battalion consists of
- The battalion HQ
- One battalion mortar platoon
- One battalion heavy machine gun platoon
- Three companies (A,B and C) each comprising a company HQ and three subordinate platoons

Initially this battalion had been dug in where it was expected to have an effective field of fire, with "Aim" orders.  However, as the battle progressed, it becomes evident that it is needed elsewhere on the battlefield.

The quickest way to move everyone is for all the platoons to change DOWN to the "Follow" order, which will result in them following their respective HQs in the next movement phase. The snag is that the HQ platoons will be leading and if this move takes then danger, the HQs would be hit first.

An alternative is for each HQ to issue "Move" or even "Double" orders. Because these orders are UP the sequence of orders, each HQ must spend time explaining the intention of the orders and can only do so for one subordinate platoon in each order phase. Thus in the first order phase,
The battalion HQ orders the machine gun platoon to "Move"
A Company HQ orders the first A platoon to "Move"
B Company HQ orders the first B platoon to "Move"
C Company HQ orders the first C platoon to "Move"

In the movement phase, therefore, just four platoons move. They may move between 1 inch and a full move. The choice of how far to move will depend on whether the Brigadier General wants to keep the battalion together or not.

In the next orders phase, in the next (or second) turn, 
The battalion HQ orders the mortar platoon to "Move"
A Company HQ orders the second A platoon to "Move"
B Company HQ orders the second B platoon to "Move"
C Company HQ orders the second C platoon to "Move"

In the movement phase of that turn, eight platoons have orders to "Move" and again may move between 1 inch and a full move.

In the next orders phase, in the next (or third) turn, the last three platoons get their "Move" orders.

If it is urgent to move the units quickly, to get them back together promptly and the risk of attack by the enemy is minimal, the second and third turn orders could be "Double" which would allow them to catch up the first wave of units. Those at "Double" will be able to drop down to "Move" orders in subsequent order phases, without needing further instructions from their HQs.

Once the moving units arrive at their destination, they will be able to change down their orders to "Aim" also without another intervention from their HQs.

So we had basically four choices:
1) Immediate "Follow" orders
2) Three turns of issuing "Move" orders
3) Three turns of issuing "Double" orders
4) Three turns, first of issuing "Move" and then of issuing "Double" orders.

Remember also that the HQs are always free to move in any movement phase, but often they will wait, because of the risk of loosing radio communications and needing to be adjacent to issue those final orders. Thinking though the sequence of phases, in the second phase communication phase, if the battalion HQ rolls successfully, then in the movement phase of that turn, all the HQs could move, because they are sure that they will have radio communications in the order phase of the next (or third) turn.

Let us return to the "Follow" option and think about what happens when the units arrive at their destination.  If the move was not very far, some of the platoons will still have "Follow" orders. That is OK, because the HQ can stop and all the subordinate platoons stop too. In subsequent order phases, the HQs will have to issue UP orders to "Aim". It takes some time to get the troops that were hastily moved to set up their new defensive positions.

Everything I have said thus far assumes that the enemy does not interfere with the action.  If some of the troops suffer steps down that take them below their move orders or need to bug out and find themselves with "Back" orders, the HQs will have to spend more turns issuing new orders. This is the beauty of the BRIGADIER GENERAL COMMANDS rules.

It takes time to issue action orders or to recover from disruptive enemy actions. The rules reward those who have a plan and stick to it.