Tactical Considerations for Commanders
Tactical Considerations for Commanders

"In war, everything is simple. But in war even simple things are hard to achieve."--von Clausewitz, On War

In Combat Simulation there are many elements that must be considered. The mission tasks given to each side may be simple, but they are designed to be hard to achieve. This is to insure that the combat action is sustained and challenging up until the end of the scenario.

Those familiar with wargaming will readily recognize the borrowed concepts. Although Combat Simulation provides new and interesting enhancements to the usual reenactment, it is above all a game where points scored count--towards victory.

If combat commanders view the event as a tactical exercise as well as a board game with human counters, they will have won half the battle.

The commanders of the respective sides are well advised to plan their strategy. There are many ways to win or lose. Every means of gaining points should be considered. Timing is important too. Careful use of special assets--sappers, snipers, mines and heavy weapons--is crucial.

All commanders must also be prepared to gamble and take calculated risks, if he expects to win.

Specific tactical notes:

Placement of mines--Only a limited number of mines per side will be issued. All mines could be placed before the start of the combat scenario, but any mine placed should be continuously covered by observation and some kind of fire--otherwise the enemy's sappers/Pioniers will have an easy time removing them. Strong points should be protected by minefields and some mines should be laid to block likely enemy approaches, but some mines should be held in reserve to be placed tactically as the scenario develops.

Overrunning an enemy strong point--Overrunning and capturing an enemy strong point may be an important victory condition. Keep in mind that the points awarded for capturing a fortified position is awarded only once--recapture of the same enemy position does not gain any additional points. However, the enemy scores points every time he recaptures his own strong point. Consideration to holding on to the strong point to prevent recapture is something that should be looked at from the point of scoring strategy. Also, if a strong point is captured, all the enemy troops that were holding it are forced out, and can join their any field forces--which increases the danger to your own positions and field forces.

A wise commander will never keep all of his forces in a strong point at one time; he runs the risk of being surrounded and bottled-up in his own works and leaving the entire field in the hands of the enemy. Listening/observation posts should be constantly manned and part of your force should always be on patrol, especially at night, to prevent being caught in this manner.

Penalties and Playing the Game

It will be impossible to watch and catch every violation of the rules and penalize them. However, commanders should stress to their troops that referees on both sides can and will assess penalties; referees may even observe violations by binoculars. In many cases a referee may not inform a violator that he has been caught--the referee may just record a penalty. Just because a referee doesn't say anything, does not mean that some one has "gotten away" with a violation.

Deception and Tricks

Deception is a legitimate tactic. Infiltration of the enemy camp by learning their passwords is allowed. (One thing that is not allowed is trying to pass oneself off as a referee). Commanders should come up with a system to make sure their security is not breached in this way.

Opponents may deliberately trick an enemy. For instance, an ambush could be set-up wherein a minefield is placed between the ambushing force and an expected route of an enemy patrol. The ambushing force could open fire and then retreat away from the minefield, in the hope of drawing the enemy into it, which would incur casualties.


Snipers are an important asset and may have a greater effect on a combat simulation than supposed. A good commander will deploy his snipers to maximum effect without needlessly risking them.

When a sniper fires upon a body of troops, there is no requirement for those fired upon to take "hits" since there is no way for them to know who is being shot at. But they should definitely react to sniper fire by moving faster, moving away or taking cover. The failure to react can incur a 100 pt. penalty in addition to giving the enemy more points for "easy" targets. A good commander will listen for sniper fire as well as not put his troops in unnecessary "danger." There may be times when an open field that is covered by a sniper must be crossed--a commander should either flush out the sniper before crossing or simply run across the field to keep losses down to an acceptable level.

It may not be possible to distinguish sniper fire from ordinary rifle fire. The best policy is to treat all long-distance rifle fire as sniper fire, and act accordingly. Referees will not inform the targets of sniper action that they have been hit, unless the target was another sniper, a sapper or the crew of a heavy weapon.

Finally, it is important to play the game by the rules--not for moral reasons, but because it will help your side win. Although the main mission goals score the most individual points, a lot of troops acting sloppy can run up penalties very quickly. Thus, one side can meet all its victory conditions--i.e. overrun enemy positions, destroy ammo dumps, etc. and still lose--if its troops ignore minefields, grenades and mortar rounds, act bulletproof in the face of rifle and machine gun fire, take cover standing behind 3 inch tree trunks or stand around in the open and needlessly make themselves targets.