The combat results table is used exactly as provided in the original PanzerBlitz
game, with an optional addition to make attackers think twice before
making frivolous assaults. However combat results of dispersed ('D') or
special dispersed ('DD') are now recorded with appropriate counters and
a second 'D' result promotes an existing 'D' unit to 'DD;' a result
which now 'disperses' a unit a full turn longer. Since we are
accumulating 'D' results we will limit the lethality of the 'DD' result
to units already bearing a 'DD' counter.
This tidies up some housekeeping issues ('opportunity fired' counters
are now redundant, as we are keeping track of dispersed units) and
extends by a full turn the dispersed effect of the 'DD' result while
retaining its lethal effect on some already dispersed units.
Combat results of 'D' and 'DD' are applied as follows:
'D' result: If the
unit already bears a 'D' counter, place a 'DD' counter in its place; otherwise
place a 'D' counter on and invert the unit if face-up.
'DD' result: If the
unit already bears a 'DD' counter, the unit is eliminated and
immediately removed from play; otherwise place a 'DD' counter
on and invert the unit if face-up; remove 'D' counter if present.
Recording:All friendly 'D' counters are removed and friendly 'DD' counters
are demoted to 'D' counters at the conclusion of each friendly player
turn before undispersed friendly inverted units are turned
Note:Dispersed units revert to face-up at the end of the same player
turn the 'D' counter is removed.
Click on the image in Figure 1
for a full-size version of the new dispersed counters suitable for
editing or printing.
Assuming that the original game's lenient
treatment of repeatedly dispersed units is a feature and not a bug we
have extended it even further; removing the risk to 'D' units of
elimination on a 'DD' result. This leniency is extended partially to
permit the reversion to repeated attacks in a single turn on armoured
units as discussed below. The attack is nonetheless made slightly more
powerful by increasing the number of turns accumulated dispersed results
can silence and immobilise a unit and balances lethality somewhat by
allowing weaker units to cumulatively produce a 'DD' result which might
subsequently cause an elimination; but only by a unit powerful enough to
deliver a 'DD' result in a single attack.
There is no question that allowing repeated
attacks on armoured units changes a basic mechanic of the game and the
handling of accumulated dispersed results requires careful balance.
Assessing this subtle but significant change will be one of the
challenges of play-testing.
The original game provided a somewhat confusing range of direct fire
options which were abandoned in the later Panzer Leader and Arab-Israeli
Wars rules. All agree that a unit may be attacked only once
per combat phase but a few problems remain; primarily reconciliation of
aggregated attack factors against armoured vehicles by multiple units
with the 'tabletop' origins of the game. And it is attractive to retain
aggregation when conducting high explosive fire against non-vehicle
units. Also the issue of how to apply direct fire attacks against
multiple units in a single target hex remains.
This revision opts for a simple solution, only
one opposing unit may be attacked in any single direct fire attack and
armoured vehicles can only be attacked by single firing units; our rule,
then, can be refreshingly brief...more
So what's the problem?
combat odds ratio calculation with existing PanzerBlitz rules.
Take for example the following simple
situation where a platoon of early Tigers has halted short of a town and
us under attack by a company of T-34s and two 47mm A/T batteries.
As can be seen the combination of
these three units in a single attack yields a ratio of 3:1; which on the
PanzerBlitz combat results table gives the attacker a 50% chance of an
outright kill and an 83% chance of an immobilising shot or kill. That
seems a pretty lethal outcome for the weapons involved considering the
This raises the point of how
'stretched' the defence factor is in this game in the first instance; it
must handle the likelihood of a hit and penetration in a single
value, not to mention resistance to infantry in the assault and indirect
fire. While simplicity is partly the charm of the game by obliging the
attacker to total up attack factors in one collective attack the
weakness of the attack/defence relationship is exaggerated and the
'tabletop' origins of the play mechanics are further obscured,
perhaps to the detriment of play and plausibility.
It is interesting to note that this rule first
appears in the August 1970 Strategy&Tactics No 22 when the PanzerBlitz
'mini-game' was published while the Tac 3 Analysis in the same
issue still states:
"Remember that all attacks are stated before rolling the die.
If a player wishes to fire more than once a turn at a particular unit
in order to insure a kill, none of those extra attacks may be switched
to other targets if they turn out to be unneeded." - Steve
List, Tac 3 Analysis
combat odds ratio calculation with previous Tac 3 rules.
Let's have a look at the same situation with
multiple, individual attacks. The T-34 still gets a respectable 2:1
attack, but with only an unadjusted chance of 18% of an outright kill,
which seems more credible while the chance of immobilisation remains the
same. The two lesser attacks each have no chance of a kill and a 33% of
We would be adding extra die rolls to the game
to implement this revision, which seems acceptable. We have increased
the chance of mobility damage, which is probably all the 45mm guns could
hope to achieve. And with our new methodology for accumulating dispersed
results a number of lucky throws could still provide a kill well above
the 18% chance from the T-34 alone. This seems a more attractive
trade-off and yields additional plausible outcomes within the relative
capabilities of the weapons simulated.
Unlike the Tac 3 designers, however, we
are going to let our player opportunistically defy their rule cited
above. During the direct fire phase the player may determine the
sequence of individually declared and resolved attacks. In the example
above if the result of the first and only declared attack by the T-34
eliminated the Tiger platoon the owning player could declare subsequent
attacks on other targets by the idled 45mm batteries.
When it comes to attacks against non-armoured
vehicle units, using high explosive and shrapnel, however, it seems
perfectly sensible to sometimes aggregate attack factors, which may
explain the designer's or Avalon Hill's original decision. We are going
to follow suit but set a significantly high bar to arguably overpowered
indirect fire units; when they aggregate it is immensely powerful. It
might be argued, however, that the original game overstated the
flexibility and operational capability of early artillery fire control
networks. So we are going to divide this rule in two; prohibiting
aggregation against armoured vehicles but permitting otherwise, but very
conditionally in the case of indirect fire. Using the distinction of
armoured vehicle and non-armoured vehicle already made in the original
game by the Weapon Effectiveness Chart limits the impact of this
significant revision on game complexity.
The problem of how to apply direct attacks
against multiple units in a single target hex is also avoided. This
revision opts for a simple solution, any single opposing unit may be
attacked in any single direct fire attack and the unit may be attacked
more than once in a direct fire segment. Our rule, then, can be further
simplified in an area that was evolving in both PanzerBlitz and Panzer
We are also excluding the attack of multiple
units in a single combat. It could be argued that this has a minimal
impact on play, if a player has enough offensive power there should be
no difficulty in attacking individual units in a hex multiple times to
achieve the same result. If, however, one powerful unit is dominating
the attack we are content to give other units in the attacked hex the
chance to avoid destruction on the grounds that it is unlikely a platoon
of armour, for example, is going to cause that much destruction in a
single game turn.
Let's see if we can dispense with any confusion
with a simply stated rule:
RULE During the direct fire segment of
the friendly combat phase:
eligible, undispersed, face-up unit may conduct a single declared
direct fire attack against any spotted enemy armoured vehicle
unit in line-of-sight and within range, using its adjusted attack
Any number of eligible,
undispersed, face-up unit(s) may conduct a single direct fire attack
against any spotted enemy non-armoured vehicle unit in
line-of-sight and within range,
totalling their individually adjusted attack factors.
PROCEDURE: When the current player conducts a
direct fire attack the following steps are undertaken:
1.The attacker adjusts the attack factor or each of the attack
factors of the declared attacking unit or units by weapon and target
type using the weapon effectiveness table. If conducting a multi-unit
attack, the adjusted amounts are totalled into a consolidated attack
2.The consolidated attack factor of the attacking unit or units
and the defence factor of the defending unit are used to determine a
combat ratio (rounding down) as the entry column to the combat results
table. Example: adjusted attack factor of 12 and defence factor of 5
yields combat ratio of 2:1.
3.Any additional die roll modifiers and terrain effects
applicable to the attack are noted.
4.The attacker rolls a six (6) sided die and cross-references the
result on the combat results table taking into account modifiers and
5.The appropriate combat
result is immediately applied to the defending unit. Dispersed results
are applied by placing the appropriate counter on the target unit;
eliminated units are removed from play.
6.The attacking units are all
Note:Direct fire attacks are individually
declared and resolved in order of the current player's choice.
This should codify play more coherently during
typically the most decisive segment in the player turn.
The town hex combat effect rule is a curious one though seemingly
reasonable at first glance; all units in a town are treated as armoured
targets irrespective of actual type and must be attacked collectively
using their aggregate defence value. But this basic rule seems
problematic under certain circumstances.
'benefit' of town hex a distinct liability.
Take for example the following simple
situation. A German infantry platoon occupies a town hex and is attacked
by a SU-85 battery conducting direct fire. At a range of four (4) hexes
the SU-85 is doubled against an armoured target and has an adjusted
attack factor of thirty-two (32) against the infantry platoon's
unadjusted, but armoured target, defence value of eight (8) for a 4:1
combat ratio; a virtually guaranteed elimination for the unfortunate
Even at longer ranges the SU-85
battery would enjoy a 2:1 combat ratio advantage against the infantry
platoon; a situation hard to reconcile with reality especially when one
considers that the same platoon in a clear hex would be attacked
at all ranges by the same battery at 1:1 as a consequence of the
sensible halving of the 'A' class unit's attack factor against a
This apparent anomaly doesn't seem to
have ever been raised in errata or addenda from Avalon Hill. As it turns
out, Tac 3, S&T 22's PanzerBlitz mini-game and PanzerBlitz
itself all took a different approach, as we will as well; abandoning the
'armoured' status classification of defending units in towns. We will
provide both vehicle and non-vehicle classes with separate but
potentially mutual modifiers which attempt to more realistically model
the benefits inherent in occupying urban terrain.
Let's first clarify that we are
referring to a town of largely stone, concrete or rammed earth buildings
of up to three stories (the original 'twenty metres' of the town hex
side line-of-sight elevation) in several blocks, at least, with access
roads or tracks leading to adjacent hexes:
A non-vehicle unit occupying a town hex has its defence factor doubled
against direct fire attacks. Furthermore, direct fire attacks
conducted against any non-vehicle unit in the town hex must include
all non-vehicle units in a single attack against their total doubled
defence factors. Indirect fire attacks are conducted normally.
Any unit in a town occupied by any 'A' class vehicle enjoys a defensive
combat die roll modifier of plus one (+1) when attacked by direct fire.
The die roll modifier is inherited by
non-vehicle units when present. While this rule leaves vehicle units
vulnerable to being 'picked off' one-by-one as an attrition strategy,
which is tolerably plausible, infantry are more difficult to dislodge
though we've retained the multiplier effect of indirect fire which
remains a threat to static artillery and other weaker units in the
For a terrain feature of wooden, one-storey buildings offers only
concealment and a defensive modifier identical to woods; simulating
light cover and obscured sighting:
A unit occupying a village hex enjoys a defensive combat die roll modifier of plus one (+1) against
While no original or third-party maps currently
have this feature it may prove useful for future Eastern front and Far
Eastern scenarios. Village hexes should be used sparingly; singly or, at
most, in pairs. Village hexes, like woods hexes, do not block
line-of-sight and should not have town hex sides applied to them.
Improved positions are fieldworks and emplacements constructed from
earth, timber and wire that enhance protection, including from indirect
fire. As with fortification markers, units occupying the same hex are
either 'within' (below) or 'outside' (above) of the improved position
A unit within an improved position enjoys a plus one (+1) modifier
against all attacks, including assaults. Furthermore, direct
fire attacks conducted against any non-vehicle unit within must
include all non-vehicle units within the improved position in a single
attack against their total defence factors. Indirect fire attacks are
conducted normally but the die roll modifier applies.
Defensive die roll
modifiers for other terrain and conditions in the hex are cumulative.
Only static artillery or
vehicle units originally stipulated by the scenario or set-up by the
owning player may ever be placed in an improved position; such units
may leave but not re-enter the improved position. Infantry, engineer
and cavalry units may leave and enter freely.
In the case of an improved position in a woods
hex, for example, units within would enjoy a plus one (+1) modifier for
the woods as well as a plus one (+1) modifier for the improved
position. In the case of an improved position in a town with an infantry
platoon and a tank destroyer platoon within, the infantry would be
doubled and additionally have a plus two (+2) modifier against direct
fire and a plus one (+1) modifier against indirect fire. The tank
destroyer unit would only benefit from the respective die roll
Also, for improved positions specified in a
scenario the scenario designer might stipulate which static artillery
and/or vehicles are placed in specific positions at particular locations
on the map-board. Otherwise the owning player might place static
artillery and vehicles at set-up time. In either case no static
artillery or vehicle units but those originally stipulated or placed may
ever be within an improved position. To simulate trenches a scenario
designer might stipulate improved positions occupied only with infantry
units or empty ones which only infantry may enter.
An optional rule in the original game the more comprehensive Panzer
Leader indirect fire rules changed again in Arab-Israeli Wars
and for good reason. One obvious problem is how to apply indirect
attacks against multiple units in a single target hex. This revision is
intended to reconcile longstanding inconsistencies among all three
versions of the game when conducting indirect fire.
In the original rules the application of
indirect fire relies on the direct fire rules and a few inconsistencies
like the halving of indirect fire attack factors against units on slopes
and hilltops seem problematic, not to mention the exclusion of Soviet
howitzers and 160mm mortars...more
Surely this is a simple way out of this that
preserves the investment in existing counter sets? Is
artillery overpowered? In a word, yes, but it really depends how and
where it is applied to the target:
Indirect fire is conducted by an '(H)' or 'M' class unit1
or units against each enemy unit in the declared target hex, in
successive attacks, one per enemy unit, at the adjusted attack factor2
(rounding down) of each separate attack against respective target
types. Attacks occur during the indirect fire segment of the friendly
combat phase. Exception:
An '(H)' class unit in direct line-of-sight of its target must conduct
a direct fire attack in the direct fire segment of the friendly combat
Each enemy unit may only be
attacked once per friendly indirect fire segment, by indirect
fire attacks of all types, in practice limiting attacks to one per
hex. Friendly indirect fire attacks may only be aggregated where
registration markers for identical types of indirect fire units are
already present in a single target hex or when using 'barrage.'
Aggregate attack factors are always adjusted for target type and
resolved as separate attacks against each respective enemy unit in the
An '(H)' class unit in
direct line-of-sight of an attacked enemy unit may only conduct a
direct fire attack against one (1) unit in the target hex and must
halve its unadjusted attack factor against any target; 'M' class unit
attacks in direct line-of-sight of the target hex are conducted
normally3 as indirect fire.
Recording:After firing the attacking unit is inverted. Registration markers
are placed within range of eligible, undispersed indirect fire units
during the registration segment.
This rule is intended to reconcile longstanding
inconsistencies among all three versions of the game when conducting
indirect fire. First, lets clarify the steps taken in the indirect fire
segment and when it occurs:
The indirect fire segment occurs at the beginning of the combat phase
of the player turn.
indirect fire attacks are declared by type and target before any are
resolved; registered, 'party line,' barrage, 'rolling thunder' and
'shoot from the hip' attacks are then conducted and resolved
successively, inverting firing units and applying combat results as
each attack is completed.
Registration:Each registration marker for eligible indirect fire units is
replaced on the map-board at the owning player's discretion, but only
on hexes spotted and in current line-of-sight of undispersed,
eligible, friendly observing units.
Recording:After firing the attacking unit is inverted.
Registration markers are
placed within range of eligible, undispersed indirect fire units
during the registration phase of the indirect fire segment.
The direct fire segment of
the combat phase begins immediately after the end of the indirect fire
One of our innovations is registration; the
placing and removing of plotted impact points with markers on the
One (1) friendly registration marker may be placed per turn for each
friendly, undispersed indirect fire unit during the registration
segment unless otherwise stipulated in the scenario. Markers are
placed at the owning player's discretion, but only on empty or spotted
hexes and in current line-of-sight of undispersed, eligible, friendly
observing units and within range of the registering indirect fire
marker examples for German and Soviet 120mm mortar units
There is one (1) uniquely
identified registration marker provided for each indirect fire unit,
and each turn during the registration segment it may be placed in any
eligible hex. Friendly registration markers for more than one friendly
indirect fire unit may not be placed in a single hex and
indirect fire units may not aggregate attacks. Exception: 'Party
line' attacks stipulated in the scenario.
Registration markers may never
be placed in concealing terrain hexes containing unspotted enemy units
unless a spotted enemy unit is also present, however unspotted enemy
units may enter hexes containing friendly registration markers (see 'interdiction.').
registration marker may be placed, removed (or declined to be placed
or removed) during the owning player's registration segment. If all
friendly, eligible, observing units for the marker are 'dispersed,'
eliminated or moved out of line-of-sight at any time the marker is
immediately removed; it may not be placed again in any eligible hex
until the registration segment of the owning player's ensuing turn.
Note:See 'observation' for eligibility requirements of observing units.
Click on the image in Figure
5 for a full-size version of these example counters suitable for
editing or printing. In many cases observation requires dedicated units:
Observation for indirect fire is performed by eligible, face-up
observer units whose visibility of target hexes is governed by spotting.
Additional requirements of observer unit type for specific classes or
groups of indirect fire units are stipulated in specific scenarios but
default as follows:
Rifle companies and
platoons may observe for 'M' class units of less than 120mm. 120mm and
greater 'M' class units and all '(H)' class units require specialist
FO (forward observer) units4.
This is merely a baseline revisions which
restores the early PanzerBlitz optional rule requirement for dedicated
observer units, discarding the Panzer Leader rule permitting 'sighting'
by 'any combat unit.' See additionally specific scenario addenda
for early, mid and late war implementation of certain indirect fire
methods for specific units or barrage groups by faction and period.
We have restricted indirect fire attacks to
individual units, now we let some aggregate their bombardment but only
with ample warning and as stipulated in the respective scenario. This is
intended to model the capability of German units and US units by 1942:
Indirect fire conducted by certain groups of eligible indirect fire
units may be aggregated on to a single target hex when all
eligible firing units are of the same specific type and each
have a registration marker in the target hex. The aggregate attack
factor is adjusted and resolved separately against each respective
A 'party line' attack may
be conducted against any currently spotted target hex in
line-of-sight of an eligible, friendly face-up observing unit and
containing registration markers placed on behalf of all firing
units. The party line attack may include the aggregate unadjusted
attack factors of any or all eligible, undispersed, face-up, friendly
'(H)' or 'M' class group member within range.
markers for more than one friendly indirect fire unit of identical
type may be placed in a single hex during the registration segment;
such units may aggregate attacks during the next ensuing indirect fire
segment. After firing the attacking
units are inverted.
units specifically designated in the respective scenario may conduct
observation for 'party
"Any three US medium howitzer batteries with a regimental
forward observer" or "any three 'rolling thunder' units of
the same type with specific observing FO unit," a scenario might
read, "may combine their indirect fire with 'party line.'"
This gives an approximation of the fire control
capabilities of multiple batteries on a capable wired or radio
communications network with a formal observer. But it falls short
of the option to place a barrage of heterogeneous indirect fire units on
the map among any one of a number of pre-registered points, at the
bombarding player's discretion in the firing segment. This permits
powerful and selective aggregation but only where infrastructure and
Indirect fire conducted by certain groups of eligible indirect fire
units can be aggregated into a single barrage attack against a target
hex, though the aggregate attack factor is adjusted and resolved
separately against each respective enemy unit.
A barrage attack may be
conducted against any currently spotted target hex in
line-of-sight of an eligible, friendly face-up observing unit and
containing a registration marker placed on behalf of any member
of the barrage group. The barrage attack may include the aggregate
unadjusted attack factors of any or all eligible, undispersed,
face-up, friendly '(H)' or 'M' class group member within range.
Recording:After firing the attacking units are inverted.
Note:Observation for barrage may be conducted only by units specifically
designated in the respective scenario. Example:
"Any three Soviet medium mortar companies and one (1) Soviet
heavy mortar company with any guard's rifle company observing" or
"any three US medium howitzer batteries with any observing rifle
platoon" or "any three 'rolling thunder' units of the same
type with specific observing FO unit," a scenario might read,
"may combine their indirect fire in barrage5."
This allows Soviets to practice barrage
on the battalion level but only with mortar units, when enabled for
heavy artillery or used with 'rolling
thunder' these units can be decisive. Now that we have hammered
indirect fire into a sensible structure, lets look at the grey
areas. Sometimes any fire support is better than none:
FROM THE HIP
Each eligible, face-up indirect fire unit may declare and conduct one
ad hoc indirect fire attack against a spotted target hex within range
and in line-of-sight of an eligible, friendly face-up observing unit
at any time during the friendly indirect fire segment.
'shoot from the hip' attack suffers an additional die roll modifier of
plus two (+2) for '(H)' class and plus one (+1) for 'M' class units and
is otherwise conducted normally as indirect fire but does not
require the unit to have a registration marker in the target hex. See
'Shoot from the hip'
attacks may never use 'barrage' or be combined with attacks of other
units of any kind.
Recording:After firing the attacking unit is inverted and its registration
marker(s) removed from play.
Note:'Shoot from the hip' observation may be conducted by any eligible
stipulated observing unit per the faction and period of the scenario. Example:
"Any Soviet rifle company" or "any US infantry
unit" or "any FO (CP) unit," a scenario might read,
"may observe for faction on-board artillery6."
It was sorely tempting to use a scatter process
here but the modifier works almost as well with less overhead during
play. 250m seems a modest error for long range weapons; perhaps we
should put an optional scatter rule in someday for 'rolling
thunder' and 170mm guns just for fun.
v1.1 Revised: March 21, 2014
1Hereafter the shorthand "indirect fire unit" will be
used in lieu of "'(H)' or 'M' class unit." 2For
the purposes of this rule 'adjusted attack factor' means the
appropriate value of attack factor after the weapon type modifier
has been applied for attack type, weapon type, target type and
range. 3 'Conducted
normally as indirect fire'
includes being conducted separately with separately adjusted
attack factors against each opposing unit in the target hex. 4 Existing
CP (command post) units may be used as dedicated forward
observers. 5 We
will retrofit observer stipulation rules to the original scenarios
elsewhere; for PanzerBlitz "any German infantry platoon,
Soviet infantry company or CP unit" is a fair start. 6 These
are examples of stipulations suitable for PanzerBlitz or Panzer
Fire The original PanzerBlitz was marred by
a rules shortfall which excluded firing at moving units. But can this
oversight be remedied without making things worse?