UMS: Modern Age. Attacks and Morale

And again, welcome to our UMS: Modern Age tutorial/playthrought . Before continuing with our review we publish a first part of Q&A that came to us about the entire project

Q: How will the publication be organized?
A: UMS has been divided into three parts: the rules, the scenarios and the army lists. There will be three separate “booklets”, available in PDF in Italian and English. The scenarios and army lists will be available free of charge as the intention is to update them on a regular basis as “living rulebooks “. We do not have plans to print a paper version of the main rules, but in the case it would be for Italian only.

Q: What kind of interaction will there be with the players?
A: We will use Facebook as our main channel, through a public group, for news and notices of various kinds . We are also evaluating the hypothesis of a forum for direct feedback and more in-depth discussions on the army lists, points values and scenarios.

Q: Do you already have deadlines?
A: We are working on it … we have had some unexpected delays but we are making up for lost time.

Then, let’s go back to the situation on our table.
The activation is Iraqi, a black 7 is turned, and we go with the T72. Rattling, it uses an action to move across the street aiming the cannon at the scouts. As you will remember, the latter are hidden and therefore not attackable. The T72 could try a Spotting activity, but it would be very difficult as it is not a Scout vehicle or does it have the Advanced Sensors. On the other hand, the scouts are in Sentinel and could open fire on the tank. We decide to try a shot, to see what can happen.

The basis of the attack roll is given by the comparison of the attack value with that of defense: in this case it is 4 against 4 and the base from which to start will be 5. One of the advantages of sentry is that it cancels any modifiers due to the movement of the target and, since the T72 is not in cover, the roll to hit remains 5. We use only one RPG-27 of the two in the Squad, better keep something for later since it is a disposable weapon, and we get a 9: the warhead crashes into armor. The RPG-27 has an AT value of +6 and the T72’s frontal armor is 0: the saving throw is therefore 6+. Unfortunately we launch a 5 and the RPG-27 has the potential to seriously damage the vehicle. We run a test on the damage table for medium tanks and we get a 7: “Total movement damage” and pinning of the crew. But beware! The T72 is equipped with the ERA armor which imposes a -3 on the rolls on the damage table … so the result is only a 4: vehicle slightly damaged and crew pinned.

Whenever the vehicles are damaged, the crew is forced to make a morale roll: failure means temporary abandonment. Each Element, both the Infantry Squads and the Vehicle’s Crew has a MOR value, in our case 6. The player rolls a number of D12s equal to the crew and if the successes are less than the failures, the morale fails. We launch 5, 6, 6 and 8 … after a moment of uncertainty, the Iraqi tankers do not abandon the vehicle even if they find themselves Pinned.

The T72 still has two actions available and, given the blow suffered, they are converted into movements to put itself in a slightly more secluded position. Sentinel, unless the Squad or vehicle has a weapon with “Sustained Fire” allows only one attack, which means that reconnaissance will no longer be able to attack enemy units. The Russian forces move a Tigr on the field with an Alpha Squad on board , excellent in short-range combat, but not suitable for long-range ones, being armed only with SMGs. In contrast, the Iraqi M113 whizzes behind the T72, with the special forces squad and the command on board while the last squad to be activated is that of the Iraqi Militia.

At the expense of the low activation (7) we get three actions. We use one to move and get closer to the scouts and two to spot them. The latter have carried out a ranged attack, so the spotting test is much easier: we throw a 6 on a required 5 … the Russians are no longer in hiding.

All the teams have acted so let’s move on to a new round. The activation cards are shuffled and the pinned units have the possibility of returning to full operation status: the only one to be so is the crew of the T72 who, with a new morale test, recover from the blow suffered previously.

We turn over the first card and it is a red 9, it should be up to the Russian. The T72, however, is in a great position to attack the now visible scouts, before they may leave, so the Iraqi plays a Jack (no matter the color) from his hand to steal the opponent’s initiative. Obviously the Russian does not fit in and plays a Queen … after thinking about it for a moment, here is that the Iraqi drops an Ace, the highest card … obviously he does not want to waste the opportunity!

Three actions are generated for the T72 and the turret turns facing the position of the Russian scouts. The tank is armed with a main gun, a GPMG and an HMG and, unlike the infantry squads, it can attack with any available weapon, obviously having the necessary actions. Squads in buildings are quite difficult to damage with small arms, so the use of the cannon is a must. The player decides to use two actions to initiate a aimed cannon fire, that is to improve the basic hit roll, but gets a measly 3 on the D12 … the shell misses its target, pierces the wall without exploding or causing no damage… the important thing is that the attack fails. Frustrated the player uses the last action to open fire with a normal HMG attack. This time it is better and two of the three shots that can be made by the heavy machine gun hit the target.

Once an infantry squad has been hit, the effect of the hit must be checked which can lead to death, serious injury, stun or nothing. Having ballistic armor equipped and being in heavy cover helps, but the HMG is a disruptive weapon, so it negates the target’s armor … still the heavy cover remains. Two D12s are rolled on the wound table and with the modifiers we get an 8 and a 6. The 8 is a “Stun” and the Element cannot participate in attacks during the turn, while the 6 is a “Serious Injury”. The Serious Injury knocks out the Element and renders the rest of the team Pinned while providing first aid.

Intending to regain the initiative, the Russian manages to activate the BMP-3 but gets only two actions. Not wanting to waste more cards from his hand at the moment, he makes enough and moves forward overcoming an obstacle. In the new position it has LOS on the M113, albeit in a darkened manner, and rather than using the single shot of the medium gun, it uses the high rate of fire of the 30mm gun. The old Iraqi APC armor is almost useless against this caliber and is soon ablaze with all the transported teams disembarked and pinned down.

A black Jack is then turned over, but the Russian wants to keep pressure on the units disembarked from the M113 and plays a King, the Iraqi has no higher card, since the only Ace he has was previously played. The Squad embarked the BMP is activated and collects three actions. With the first disembarks from the IFV, with the second moves into position for LOS and with the third opens fire on the special forces. Disembarking and moving add negative modifiers to the hit roll, but the unit’s rate of fire is 13 dice (5 AR and 1 SAW) so statistically there will be some success. The to hit number turns out to be a 9 and 13 dice are rolled: 3 hits, one of which with a natural 12. Normally it is the player who “defends” who assigns the hits to his elements, but with a natural 12 it is the attacker who places them and the first hit goes to an enemy element armed with RPG27 / LAW, the other two are placed by the defender . Now proceed with the wound roll, with ballistic armor as the only positive modifier for the Iraqi. The results are 5, 8 and 10: one dead, one stunned and one no effect.

The result “Dead” activates a morale test for the Team and only one success is obtained on the three elements. It would be a failure but the proximity of the HQ allows the reroll of the failed dices. The two failures do not improve even with the new rolls and the team falls back by 20cm towards their deployment area.

And we are at the conclusions of this third part:

  • The morale system based on the element rather than the unity is certainly nothing new, but it works well especially in skirmish games where the units are almost never numerous. In UMS there are 4 to 10 Elements, so he will never find us rolling a large number of dice
  • The attack/defense comparison to determine the basis of the roll to hit equalizes situations where units with the same characteristics face each other very well: an elite unit will be superior to a regular or militia, but against another elite it will be equal.
  • The vehicles seem very fragile … but it must be said that the Iraqi T72 is a structurally old tank of almost 50 years and all the APC/IFV, if not equipped with defense systems such as APS or ERA, are tin cans with tracks !

Until next time!

Part four: Air support and Suppression

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