Blood And Guts

Blood And Guts

by David W. Hall


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United States Marine Corps veteran David Hall presents a new and exciting way to experience the Second World War in Blood and Guts: Rules, Tactics, and Scenarios for Wargaming World War Two. Hall developed his tactical game system through decades of personal wargaming, and he now shares his unique system with readers everywhere. The rules are easy to learn, and the games are fast-paced. The scenarios cover almost all of the major theaters of conflict, including France 1940, the Mediterranean, the South Pacific, and the Eastern Front. A table of organization and equipment is included to assist readers in recreating wargame infantry and armor formations.

Hall doesn't simply provide a set of rules; he infuses each chapter with wargame theory, tactics, and tank development. He provides the logic behind each rule and talks about how the rule design plays out the battlefield. He also shares stories and anecdotes about his early "toy soldier" days and about how he developed into a wargamer-stories sure to spark readers' memories of their own first set of soldiers.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781462025565
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 07/28/2011
Pages: 372
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.77(d)

Read an Excerpt


By David W. Hall

iUniverse, Inc.

Copyright © 2011 David W. Hall
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4620-2556-5

Chapter One

Influences and Observation of a Wargamer

The set of rules that I will lay out is entirely different from the set I developed in my childhood and adolescent years. It is a collection of influences and convictions that I have developed over the years. As I have interacted with other wargamers, read different authors, and experienced the games themselves, I have reached my own conclusions about how rules should be designed. I am certainly not advocating that my rules are superior to other sets but simply stating my conclusions has helped me concentrate and produce a set I can call my own.

Wargamers are a very diverse group of people with varying backgrounds, influences, understandings, and interpretations of history. However, there is one commonality that unites them: their time is limited. Many of us are still raising families, are committed to support our children's extracurricular activities, and have demanding jobs. We have spouses that require our time and attention. Therefore, we are barely able to squeeze in "hobby time," let alone spend hours each weekend wargaming one game. I have participated in far too many games that were too large in scope for the allotted time given. Either there was an overabundance of units or the rules themselves were overly complicated to allow as mooth game in a four-to-five-hour period. the most frustrating aspect was that a conclusion was never reached. I am sure there are many in this audience of readers that have played an eight-hour game, watched a few gamers come and go with hardly an exciting turn played, only to have the game called a draw. Following that, the "after action reports" from the players were filled with ifs and buts as to the eventual winner. Such things should never happen! this has led me to one of my core principles in game creation and rule design: Can the game be set up and played, with a conclusion, in 5 hours?

As for our differences, there are those gamers who relentlessly argue every point. To be kind, it probably stems from an over exuberance and knowledge of period weaponry and tactics. However, the disagreements only add to the length of time needed to play and hopefully reach a conclusion. The best way I have found to solve this issue is to allow each side two objections to either the interpretation of a rule or how the rule should be applied. The player issuing his objection must clearly state his logic and reasoning. Then he will submit to a simple roll of a 6-sided die. If the roll is 1, 2, or 3, then he wins the argument. If he loses, the affair is considered closed and the game moves on. the irony is I have seldom had to use it. I think just knowing a player can object is enough to keep most gamers in check.

It was some time in my mid-twenties that I stumbled on to other wargamers outside of the friends I grew up with, who were long gone in terms of throwing dice. While I was serving in the Marine Corps, I did manage to persuade a few Marines to take up gaming, but not to any great extent. It was at the Keller show, in the Los Angeles area that I met Larry squire, a prolific wargamer. He was selling built and un-built 1/72 scale armor kits. He and I started chatting and he told me of an informal group of wargamers with whom he played. I soon met the players and a new chapter in my wargaming life opened up for me. Their World War two collections were fantastic and their wargaming system was grand. Larry has a great game just waiting to be published. He also introduced me to Mike Creek, a legend in his own right with his massive game board and hobby room. It is his entire two-car garage! I can only dream to have such hobby space. Mike, too, has his own set of rules that should be in print. the experience with this group enriched my wargamer soul. To know there were others contemplating wargame theory and developing systems of play to incorporate historical events into exercisable game simulations that went far beyond watching The Longest Day and trying to play a game of soldiers landing on a beach was a great encouragement to my own ideas. To this day I am not immune to being inspired to play a solo game after watching an old war movie, such as The Devil's Brigade. I am indebted to Larry for opening his game space and permitting me to invite the group to play a few of my games using my rules. there was one memorable occasion in which we gamed the thirty Years War. I do not believe anyone at the table had tried this period. The game turned into a very exciting event, with cavalry charges, musketry, and solid shot flying everywhere. As I recall, the Swedes held the field at the conclusion of the game.

It was by chance in the year 2000 that I discovered Donald Featherstone. I was attending a training class to get my stockbroker's license. Near the training center was a used bookstore. At a break, I was browsing the books. I came across Battles with Model Soldiers. It was a revelation. I had absolutely No idea that there were genuine authors on the subject discussing wargames in hardcover. I was blown away.

I went on to collect numerous books from Featherstone, Charles Grant, Peter Young, Terence Wise, Bruce Quarrie, and C.F. Wesencraft. What inspired me was that their rules did not attempt to achieve absolute realism. Their rules and theories made their games fun, enjoyable, and still they achieved a degree of realism that enabled the player to taste the art of war for the period being played. In the end, I think as wargamers that is all we want to obtain.

It was Wise and Wesencraft that exposed me to the idea that there was an alternative to rolling for every rifleman for the musket period and that troop quality played a large part on the unit's proficiency at firing and morale. This solved a difficult problem for me. During my early teens and later in my early thirties, I flirted with the Horse and Musket Age. I was using the idea of rolling an 8-sided die for every six men firing, given the target was in range and morale was very basic. Both writers used the morale or troop quality, plus the number of troops firing to determine the number of casualties inflicted on the opponent, without rolling a die. Of course, there were modifiers to either increase or decrease the number of hits. This process greatly increased the turn sequence thus hurrying the game along without jeopardizing the playability and, more importantly, the essence of the period in question. Further, the use of morale was simple but played a large part in their systems, either through attrition or due to the reactions to opposing units firing or charging. If morale collapsed, it could pull in other units with it. the point of mentioning this is to illustrate that there are ways to approach wargaming that may seem unconventional, such as not rolling for firing infantry, but still present a useful set of rules and thoughts that challenge the mind.

The games have taught me that there is something called tactics on the battle table. I know gamers will huddled in a corner and lay out a strategy for defeating their steely-eyed antagonists. They will make moves and countermoves in the process of the match. But I am referring to something more subtle. Here is an example of what I mean. Years ago I hosted a game featuring Poles vs. Swedes. The inspiration was Gustav Adophlus' campaigns in Poland, his training ground prior to his entry into the thirty Years War. I was the Game Master. My friend Larry squire was on the side of the Poles and he had command of three regiments of Winged Hussars. The tactic he employed was that of a feint. He kept his ferocious cavalry on the right flank of the enemy performing mock charges solely to distract and pinned down two Swedish regiments, keeping them from making any rash decisions. It worked. It allowed the rest of the Polish cavalry and infantry to attack and penetrate the left flank and go on to win the game. Admittedly, I painted those Hussars and the entire forces used that day and I was hoping they would majestically charge across the field and smash and destroy anything and everything in their path. All I got to see was a nice looking Merry-Go-Round! But tactics are tactics and they do not have to be pretty to be effective.

Once, I was able to exercise the old one, two, three punch on a fellow gamer who was taking up the role as a World War two German commander. I had recently read in one of Gene McCoy's Wargamer's Digest issues an explanation of employing the Attack element, the Maneuver Force, and the Reserve in a coordinated attack. The game was a small skirmish between the Afrika Korps and British 8th Army. Each side was outfitted with a company of infantry and a platoon of tanks. I had used my infantry as the attack force, piercing the broken ground in the center of the table. The three Panzer III tanks maneuvered to my right flank, skirting the edges of a hill and the board. The Reserve (the troop's support element) contributed by laying down a base of fire for the Attack. The Panzer IIIs successfully engaged his Crusader tanks causing his infantry to fear attack from the left flank. It therefore caused him to split his attention from my infantry assault, resulting in a weakened defense. The Reserve unit moved in behind the Attack and together they carried the day. By keeping this ploy in mind, I was able to exploit his lack of a cohesive battle plan. We had discussed the battle in an "After Action Report," where I discovered his plans were based on an if/ then approach, despite his having an overall strategy. He wanted to get his Crusaders into an attack position against my infantry and if I did x, y, or z then he would do a, b, or c. I think that this is a common mistake many wargamers fall into without realizing it. I know I have on many occasions substituted strategy for tactics and gotten my ammunition trailer kicked.

Chapter Two

Wargame Theory and Application

A theory, as defined by Webster's II New Riverside Dictionary, second definition, states: "a body of principles governing the study or practice of an art or discipline." I think this puts into perspective what designers of wargame rules attempt to achieve. The body of principles is two-fold. One, we have a set of facts or presumed facts relative to historical events. Two, we are confined to time and space in terms of what a game board is representing. These principles are funneled into a set of rules governing the practice of our discipline. Like any theory, it is subject to human interpretation. For instance, here is a classic example: How far can a regiment charge? Assume we are discussing the U.S. Civil War. Some designers will allow a charge to go far beyond a normal move. Let's say the normal in-ranks move is 6 inches, which represents 150 yards, the charge may allow for a movement of up to 12 inches or more. We now are talking 300 yards, which is a mighty long run in any combat gear and still remain combat-effective. Certainly, modifiers can be allocated to diminish the effectiveness if the entire course is run. However, that is not my point. Conversely, one could argue that a charge can only be carried out when the opponents are within 100 yards (4 inches) of each other. Most infantry-to-infantry engagements in the civil war were within 100 to 200 yards of each other before a running charge was committed. I am not writing to pass judgment on which approach is correct. I want to demonstrate what a designer has to rationalize in his mind when creating a system. In this instance, whether a man can cover more ground running than a man walking in a given segment of time. Should his rules necessarily grant a charging unit a move at twice the distance of a walking unit? on the other hand, if history reveals charges were short bursts of energy to force a reaction from an enemy, should the charge movement be restricted to a shorter move than a normal one? I can almost certainly hear a few readers howling at my logic on both sides. If so, I am pleased. Wargaming is a thinking man's game. Finally, I submit that the definition of Wargame Theory is a set of principles and rules reflecting historical events on a three-dimensional field governing the discipline of wargaming.

The Relationship Between Time and Space

The next step in the theory is the application of time and space. How long should we say a turn represents: 1 minute, 5 minutes, 30 seconds? Let's use 5 minutes. How far can a U.S. Civil War regiment march while the officers are dressing the ranks and the troops are presumably under fire? Perhaps 150 yards is reasonable. But what about a charge given the same time period, did that change the dynamic? Does the unit actually run for 5 minutes or do we revert back to the historical discussion above? Keeping these thoughts buzzing about and reflecting on the problem, if the designer is developing rules for mechanized warfare, how much ground can an infantry squad cover in 5 minutes relative to a Sherman M4 moving at full tilt, particularly if 1 inch is representing 25 yards? I think it is fair to say that the squad might get 10 inches, but the Sherman probably fell off the board. One lesson in game design is that the rules should provide enough movement for units to elicit a reasonably quick response from an opponent and those movements need to be in relationship to the size of the game board. I recently played a game where a British MkVI was able to move 48 inches. The game table was only 54 by 60 inches. I do believe that game designer has changed his movement charts. However, it does illustrate my point.

On the subject of time and space per turn, the turns of these rules to follow are broken down into 4 phases: Player A moves, Player B moves, Player A fires, and Player B fires. It is not quite that simple, but for this brief discussion we will assume it is. the complete turn will be defined as 5 minutes, 2½ minutes for moving and 2½ minutes for firing. The time specified may strike some as long for mechanized warfare, because some gamers play a 30-second turn. Using 5 minutes as the length of time allows for rates of fire particularly for infantry, which will be explained later. Of all wargame theory aspects, this is probably the least important and least relevant. Once the game starts, very few players ever think twice about the time component. I do not think I have ever encountered a gamer making a stink about such and such move taking too long or there is no way X can happen in that amount of time. Frankly, all that matters is that the relationship between movement and firing feels reasonable given the size of the game board.

The heart of wargame theory is to develop a set of principles that effectively deal with competing factors both relationally and historically. In this set of rules, I have chosen to represent 1 inch as 10 yards. This will of course pose a few problems. If the game board is 6ft. by 5ft., that is 72 by 60 inches, than any weapon save a pistol or a Japanese knee mortar can hit any target on the battlefield, thus restricting any kind of skillful maneuvering. The solution to this is to "dumb down" the ranges to be proportional to the field. For example, a U.S. bazooka's range is 14 inches and a tank's maximum gunnery range is 60 inches. A medium machine gun can reach out to 40 inches where as small arms can reach out to 30 inches. There are, of course, the obligatory modifiers, which makes hitting those maximum ranges extremely difficult in practice. Therefore, maneuvering can be obtained without getting chewed to pieces before getting into position.


Excerpted from BLOOD AND GUTS by David W. Hall Copyright © 2011 by David W. Hall. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Influences and observation of a Wargamer....................1
Chapter 2 Wargame theory and Application....................7
Chapter 3 Blood and Guts....................16
Chapter 4 summary of Rules....................90
Chapter 5 Basic table of organization and equipment....................119
Chapter 6 Blood and Guts in Action....................149
Chapter 7 solo Wargaming....................167
Chapter 8 scenarios for Wargaming World War Two....................173
Chapter 9 tactics and theaters of World War Two....................214
Chapter 10 tank Development of World War Two....................272
Chapter 11 Childhood Reflections....................304
Chapter 12 Conclusion....................325
About the Author....................330

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Blood and Guts: Rules, Tactics, and Scenarios for Wargaming World War Two 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*she remains silent*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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