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Battlefront WWII
Machine Gun Plunging Fire
Playtest rules

Machine guns may elect to fire at a single target using normal rules. This is called "Point" fire.
In addition to Grazing fire, some armies used HMG as indirect fire weapons using a tactic called "Plunging Fire".
It required specific training, very specific long-range sights, a vast amount of ammunition, a machine gun that could cope with long periods of constant fire, lots of men serving the weapon (far more than would normally be found in an ordinary MG detachment) and above all, doctrine that thought that this sort of thing is a good idea in the first place!
During WW2 this sort of tactic was essentially only practiced by the British and French armies, as well as their imperial relatives. In the modern era, the British Army still practices such things with its Sustained Fire General Purpose Machine Guns, to which a close relative of the 81mm mortar sight is fitted to allow accurate indirect fire.
It was an important tactic, particularly for the British Army, who placed great store in Plunging Fire as an interdictive weapon - keeping enemy reserves suppressed.

Here are some suggested playtest rules for MG Plunging Fire:
  1. In WW2 MG Plunging Fire may only be conducted by MMG units belonging to the French or British Armies (or their respective imperial cousins) - specifically by Vickers and Hotchkiss MMG units.
  2. Units engaging in MG Plunging Fire must belong to specific Machine Gun/Support MEs such as the British divisional MG Battalion or Brigade Support Group, even if parcelled out as platoon attachments to infantry battalions and the like. MMGs that are organic to other units (such as early war Indian infantry battalions and British Motor Battalions) may not conduct MG Plunging Fire, as they generally lack the training and doctrine to do so.
  3. MG Plunging Fire may be called as Organic Support IDF by a Machine Gun/Support Company ME Commander or as Direct Support IDF by another Commander to which the MGs are attached.
  4. MG Plunging Fire may be conducted by an individual MMG or by larger units, provided those units conform to the rules for IDF by battery - i.e. each MMG must be emplaced and must remain within 2 inches of the next gun in the unit.
  5. An MMG may not conduct Plunging Fire if it is itself Suppressed or Disordered.
  6. MG Plunging Fire requires a vast amount of ammunition. An MMG conducting Plunging Fire must therefore either remain stationary in the position it started the game, OR it must be positioned within 1 inch of its transport vehicle/animal.
  7. Place a Small IDF Template for each MMG conducting Plunging Fire.
  8. MG Plunging Fire may only be conducted within the 20-80 inch range bracket.
  9. Basic MG Plunging Fire combat factors are -3 vV and -2 vTGsV.
  10. MG Plunging Fire Missions may be concentrated up to a maximum concentration modifier of +1, but may not thicken other fire missions and may not themselves be thickened.
  11. MG Plunging Fire procedure differs slightly from normal IDF in that the cover modifiers for DIRECT FIRE are applied. However, when determining combat results, consider the target as being under Indirect Fire.
  12. All MG Plunging Fire is classed as a Barrage as per the rulebook. All units passing through the beaten zone must therefore roll for Interdiction casualties.

This page was last updated on 01/05/2020 at 07:25AM

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