PanzerBitz   Spottingng    
  Spotting
Here we restate the original spotting requirement for woods and town hexes, adjacent spotting, and eligibility requirements. We add the Panzer Leader spotting of firing units along with the substantial change of permitting spotting of moving units, basically vehicles, on entering woods or town qualified with an exemption for vehicles moving very slowly which we formalise as a new movement rate while leaving the door open to additionally spot heavy units loading or unloading within the hex.  Our housekeeping gains one sub-marker and spotted marker substitution or removal while retaining the Panzer Leader requirement for placing and removing spotted markers throughout play.
GENERAL RULE:
A unit in concealing terrain1 may not be fired upon unless spotted. A unit in or entering a concealing terrain hex is not spotted unless adjacent to an eligible opposing unit or in line-of-sight of an eligible opposing unit while entering the hex, firing from the hex, or conducting 'revealed movement2' within the hex. Optional: A unit entering concealing terrain from an adjacent hex using '
concealed movement3' while in line-of-sight of an eligible opposing unit is not spotted unless the entered hex is also adjacent to an eligible opposing unit.

Recording: A 'spotted' marker is immediately placed on a spotted unit unless spotted while firing during the opponent's movement phase when an 'opportunity spotted' marker is placed instead.

The 'spotted' or 'opportunity spotted' marker is immediately removed when a unit enters non-concealing terrain or no eligible opposing unit remains in line-of-sight of the spotted unit. 

Additionally, at the conclusion of the opposing player's player turn, friendly units with non-zero movement allowances have 'spotted' markers removed; all friendly 'opportunity spotted' markers are replaced with 'spotted' markers.

Limitation: A dispersed or 'C' class unit may not spot.4

Note: A unit in non-concealing terrain in line-of-sight of an eligible opposing unit is always spotted, 'spotted' and 'opportunity spotted' markers are only used with units in concealing terrain.

Tournament: When spotting non-adjacent enemy units, the spotting player is responsible for the placement of spotting markers.  No spotting marker may be placed after the conclusion of the phase in which spotting occurs.  Exception: Adjacent spotted units.

In the original game 'spotting' of target units in concealing terrain is necessary for all kinds of fire. Though woods or town hex sides block line-of-sight, enemy units in woods or town hexes can still be fired upon by a unit in line-of-sight of the target hex if the requirement of 'spotting' is met by some friendly unit. In PanzerBlitz this requirement could be fulfilled only by any undispersed, adjacent friendly unit; including, controversially, truck and wagon units.

Figure 1: Soviet A/T battery fails to 'spot' Hetzer as it moves through line-of-sight (LOS) at hex A and continues on to hex B
One consequence of this admirably simple but troublesome rule is that players may advance units invulnerably over open ground if they are concealed appropriately at turn end. In the absence of an opportunity to fire upon moving enemy units in the original game defenders are helplessly frustrated from interfering.

In a PanzerBlitz example (see Figure 1) the hapless A/T battery can do nothing but watch as the Hetzer platoon enters the town from a clear hex in LOS (A) and continues to move through open terrain to occupy the adjacent woods hex (B;) granted, the battery will get an opportunity to fire in the next player turn but will also suffer the additional die roll penalty modifier (+1) for firing on units in woods.  The battery is also now spotted to its likely detriment.

This is not a likely result in a real world situation and is defensible as a rule choice only with a generously broad interpretation of the 'simplicity is playability' argument.  On the other hand, as we shall see, the material outcome is probably not affected as badly as it may seem although we are missing out on a range of potential outcomes which would add nuance and flavour to the game as well as give us a more plausible script for the after-action reports of our fictional engagement.

Another consequence is that in Panzer Leader the spotting rules are revised to provide for spotting of firing units from concealed hexes and the idea, which we have adopted, of 'spotted markers.'  As usual the Panzer Leader rules tend to be a bit wordy and slightly repetitive compared to the original. We also see the introduction of the related notion of opportunity fire as an optional rule, addressed elsewhere, but with implications for our previous game example.

Figure 2: To reach hex A the advancing German infantry platoon suffers three successive turns of attack from the unspotted Soviet MG company without supporting fire, or smoke, from mortars.
In another PanzerBlitz example (see Figure 2) the advancing German infantry platoon suffers three successive turns of fire from the Soviet machine gun company without any support from their mortars. The Platoon Leader spotting rules remedy this and we gratefully will include in our revision the spotting rule which spots firing enemy units when in line-of-sight of eligible friendly units. 

With this rule however, comes an implication: once spotted, this machine gun unit remains spotted while in German line-of-sight. For this Soviet MG unit with an movement factor of nil (0) that makes perfect sense but infantry and vehicle units, which theoretically should be able to adjust their position within cover like woods or towns, also remain spotted indefinitely unless they move out of line-of-sight.

We want more nuance, and since we've also extended spotting of moving units into concealed hexes when in line-of-sight it would probably be a good idea to have a mechanism to permit the spotted units 'melt' back into concealment; in our revised rule by removing spotted markers at the end of the opposing player's player turn. 

If the newly concealed unit opens up again, or moves, it is re-spotted; if it doesn't it stays concealed. This is intended to reflect the ability, arguably the natural tendency, of a unit to conceal itself when exposed. It will also come in handy when we are putting together our rule for indirect fire and looking for ways to mitigate what is likely to be slightly overpowered artillery.

In our rules a transporting unit, for example trucks, might remain unspotted when entering a concealing hex using concealed movement.  However our optional rules allow for unloading in a subsequent movement phase to conditionally reveal the transporting unit and passenger to eligible spotting units.

We believe that a vehicle unit entering a concealed hex is vulnerable to spotting so we've included conditional spotting of some moving units in concealed terrain.  Unless a unit enters a concealed hex using  concealed movement it can now be spotted; noting that a unit with a movement factor of one (1) moves normally using concealed movement so is likewise exempted from spotting.  This exposes all vehicle units moving normally and infantry units moving with the quick march option or at the road movement rate. Infantry units, then, and man-portable weapons like some mortars, remain unspottable; conferring on them a unique capability while preserving a useful feature of the original games.

For purposes of play a 'spotted' unit, therefore, becomes any unit in friendly line-of-sight in non-concealing terrain or bearing a 'spotted' marker of either type; preserving the Panzer Leader rule but enhancing recording for units which were spotted while firing during the opponent's movement phase.

We have also added to the complexity of the game a new movement option, concealed movement, and a new 'opportunity spotted' marker.  We will also stipulate 'opportunity spotted' markers should be mounted on the reverse of 'spotted' markers to mitigate the play-time overhead of finding one; we would rather build the extra effort into crafting the game than playing it and this way our net cost for fetching a 'spotted' marker remains the same as the original marker rule.

Shaun Appleby
v0.1 Revised: April 05, 2013

1 For the purposes of the original game 'concealing terrain' equals woods or town hexes. For our purposes concealing terrain may include other terrain types introduced with variant maps and scenarios.
2 Optional rule; otherwise movement within hex alone does not precipitate spotting.
3 In other words which expends its entire movement allowance using 'concealed movement.'
4 Excludes trucks and wagons. Note 'C' units not 'C(I)' units.
 
Opportunity 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?

 

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