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Thread: Front-Arcs, Rear-Guns, Stability and Deflection: a Firing House Rule!

  1. #1


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    Default Front-Arcs, Rear-Guns, Stability and Deflection: a Firing House Rule!

    Trying to address the 'problem' discussed here (in a nutshell: we believe that frontal firing by scouts was more accurate than firing from a rear-gun), my friends and I have been using the following rules (and we're loving it!):

    You need two (2) A Damage Decks, and two (2) B Damage Decks.
    Remove all the zeros (0) from one (1) of the A Damage Deck (but keep the zeros that are also gun jams)
    and
    Reduce the zeros (0) from one (1) of the B Damage Deck (we leave 2 zeros plus the zeros that are gun jams)


    Use the Reduced Zeros Damage Decks for Scouts and Two-Seater frontal firing arc.
    Use the remaining Normal (full zeros) Damage Decks for Two-Seater Rear-Gunners

    Single MMG use B Damage Decks and double MMG use A Damage Decks as usual.

    voila! Frontal firing arcs are now more accurate than rear-gun firing!

    In addition to this we're also using the following rule:

    In order to simulate deflection and accuracy lost when firing while turning, Scouts and Two-Seater shooting with their front MMG shoot with the normal (full of zeros) Damage Decks.

    Some planes what were known for being very stable firing platforms may ignore the former rule.

    Those are:

    SE5a
    Fokker DVII

    LFG Roland VI
    Bristol F2 Fighter (only for the frontal MMG, rear-gunner is subject to the normal rear-gun rule and draws cards with the normal 'full zeros DD' always).

    In order to ignore the rule, the maneuver right after the turn CANNOT be another turn nor a Steep Maneuver (the 'logic' behind this is the following: we're assuming that these planes can 'stabilize' faster than the rest, so if the plane fires right after coming out of a turn and then flights straight or makes a controlled wave then the bullets burst wont suffer deflection. But if the plane continues turning the deflection will occur. We assume that a step maneuver makes the plane more unstable, so the plane has no time to 'recover' right after the turn and looses its 'stable-platform' bonus too

    SPAD VII and XIII (stable but not very-stable) can ignore the rule too, but only if the plane plays a Straight Maneuver right after the Turn when it had shoot


    Hope you find it useful!

    any feedback will be welcomed!

  2. #2

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    Do you play these modifications with altitude or without? I think it is a pretty simple change, but is there historical evidence that the pilot was a more effective gunner?

  3. #3

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    Interesting rule change.
    But is a pilot more accurate than a dedicated gunner?
    The pilot is thinking about flying the plane looking out for potential targets avoiding collisions etc as well as shooting.
    The Gunner on the other hand can concentrate on the job at hand.... Shooting
    It also occurs to me that most rear guns where single mg's and front pilots tended to have twin mg's. Is this because the single mg with a dedicated gunner was as efficient as a twin mg with a busy pilot?
    Linz

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Linz View Post
    Interesting rule change.
    But is a pilot more accurate than a dedicated gunner?
    The pilot is thinking about flying the plane looking out for potential targets avoiding collisions etc as well as shooting.
    The Gunner on the other hand can concentrate on the job at hand.... Shooting
    It also occurs to me that most rear guns where single mg's and front pilots tended to have twin mg's. Is this because the single mg with a dedicated gunner was as efficient as a twin mg with a busy pilot?
    Linz
    Most rear guns were singles because of the weight of the gun and ammo. It was considered acceptable (actually needed) for twin guns in front; probably because of the ROF being lessened by the syncronization gearing.
    In many ways, the scoust have a easier shooting solution since they just point the plane and shoot, wherein the rear gunners have to deal with deflection and leading the target et al.
    However, I don't feel that the game mechanics are refined enough to worry about this difference.
    Karl

  5. #5

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    I would think regardless whether your guns are fixed or flexible the deflection and leading the target is the same.
    You have to put your bullets to where you think the aircraft will be by the time your bullets get there.
    The DH2 had a flexible gun mount for the pilot to improve the arc of fire. Pilots locked them in place to make aiming easier because flying and aiming a gun was too differcult.
    Linz

  6. #6

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    It is clearly easier to fire fixed forward guns as a weapon platform than to fire a flexible gun or else a lot of fighters would have a tower with a gunner. It didn't happened and when it did, the overall result was at least very poor (ex: ww2 Boulton Defiant)

    The major role of the flexible rear gun was to protect the plane, not to be an active hunter (with some exceptions).
    A single two seater against a single seated fighter was almost always in great disadvantage and that doesn't reflect well in this game, thus I find the home rules created by Ezekiel very interesting.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Linz View Post
    The DH2 had a flexible gun mount for the pilot to improve the arc of fire. Pilots locked them in place to make aiming easier because flying and aiming a gun was too differcult.
    Linz
    Not quite the whole story. From Windsock DF48 regarding the Lewis gun - 'The original gun mount was unsatisfactory and was soon labelled 'The Wobbly Mount'. By April 1916, a new improved mount was introduced, which became the standard fitting. Before the mount became available, several pilots - against official orders - experimented with clamping the gun, or mounting it on the top longeron.' No.24 Sqn RFC was the first unit to deploy to France with the DH2, on 7 February 1916.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blackronin View Post
    A single two seater against a single seated fighter was almost always in great disadvantage and that doesn't reflect well in this game, thus I find the home rules created by Ezekiel very interesting.
    I am reading Billy Bishop's book, and he always talks about solo 2 seaters being a juicy target. I agree that the 2 seaters seem to be powerful in the game. I wonder if playing altitude rules changes this as you can come up below them, but I suspect that is hard to pull off in a game. Bishop does talk about the 2 seaters always trying to dive away from him, so maybe it was difficult in real life too. I remember Rickenbacker talking about a 2 seater that could shoot down on him in this "blind spot" and he was much more cautious after being fired upon when he was below.

  9. #9

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    So I crunched some numbers and here are some percentage chances of drawing a card from each of these decks.
    A Deck regular:
    Chance of special damage 42.8571%
    Chance of 0 damage 25.7143%

    A Deck with 0 removed (but with 0 special damage cards left in)
    Chance of special damage 57.6923%
    Chance of 0 damage 0%

    B Deck regular:
    Chance of special damage 40.0901%
    Chance of 0 damage 29.5455%

    B Deck with 0 removed (but with 0 special damage cards left in)
    Chance of special damage 58.0645%
    Chance of 0 damage 0%

    I thought it interesting to see the increase in special damage with this house rule. Your chance of drawing the explosion card with the zeroless deck goes up one percent too.

  10. #10

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    I agree that the pilot aimed MG's should be better than fexible guns.
    Trying to move and shoot 30lbs of gun at 16,000 ft without oxygen, in freezing temps is at best hard, but with 50lbs for twin guns and its near impossible.

    The idea is interesting but I dont like the idea of no Zero's.
    Part of the fun is not knowing if you actually damaged the enemy. With every card now a hit it would change the game.
    Perhaps removing one third of the zeros and adding them to the other deck.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by macka321 View Post
    I agree that the pilot aimed MG's should be better than fexible guns.
    Trying to move and shoot 30lbs of gun at 16,000 ft without oxygen, in freezing temps is at best hard, but with 50lbs for twin guns and its near impossible.

    The idea is interesting but I dont like the idea of no Zero's.
    Part of the fun is not knowing if you actually damaged the enemy. With every card now a hit it would change the game.
    Perhaps removing one third of the zeros and adding them to the other deck.
    That might be a good idea, Stan.

  12. #12

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    Another idea is to ignore special damage from rear guns excepting jams. That could knock those rear guns down a peg.

  13. #13


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    Quote Originally Posted by diceslinger View Post
    Do you play these modifications with altitude or without?
    I play with altitude (and only play minis)


    Quote Originally Posted by diceslinger View Post
    I think it is a pretty simple change, but is there historical evidence that the pilot was a more effective gunner?
    Quote Originally Posted by Linz View Post
    But is a pilot more accurate than a dedicated gunner?
    Short answers to this type of objection:
    I don't really know!
    I've opened a thread to discuss this and I was surprised about even though some people gave really good arguments supporting both sides of the discussion, there were no consensus about this.

    Me and my group of friends have the 'feeling' that a fixed MMG shooting from the front should be more stable firing platform than those mounted on the rear: deflection and recoil (just to mention a couple of things), should make rear guns less stable and hence less accurate.

    Borrowing vocabulary from other games and modern warfare: I (we) think front arc fixed MMG have better fire-control than rear gunners (although not necessarily better rage-finder, that may be about the same (?))

    bottom line: we don't really know ... I just have the feeling that scouts were more accurate

    Players who think otherwise may just keep playing with the official rules ... that's why this is a house-rule



    Quote Originally Posted by Linz View Post
    The pilot is thinking about flying the plane looking out for potential targets avoiding collisions etc as well as shooting.
    The Gunner on the other hand can concentrate on the job at hand.... Shooting
    It also occurs to me that most rear guns where single mg's and front pilots tended to have twin mg's. Is this because the single mg with a dedicated gunner was as efficient as a twin mg with a busy pilot?
    Linz
    Pilot may have deal with flying and aiming at the same time... but rear-gunner have to deal with unexpected maneuvers by his pilot that could make the exclusive-dedication a less important factor. Imagine trying to shoot a gun from a car when somebody else is driving and making turns and taking evasive actions -- this may not be the case when bombers are flying in a close and stable formation.
    Last edited by Gallo Rojo; 08-21-2012 at 10:55.

  14. #14

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    I prefer the original way.

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    Quote Originally Posted by maka321 View Post
    The idea is interesting but I dont like the idea of no Zero's.

    Quote Originally Posted by diceslinger View Post
    So I crunched some numbers and here are some percentage chances of drawing a card from each of these decks.
    A Deck regular:
    Chance of special damage 42.8571%
    Chance of 0 damage 25.7143%

    A Deck with 0 removed (but with 0 special damage cards left in)
    Chance of special damage 57.6923%
    Chance of 0 damage 0%

    B Deck regular:
    Chance of special damage 40.0901%
    Chance of 0 damage 29.5455%

    B Deck with 0 removed (but with 0 special damage cards left in)
    Chance of special damage 58.0645%
    Chance of 0 damage 0%

    I thought it interesting to see the increase in special damage with this house rule. Your chance of drawing the explosion card with the zeroless deck goes up one percent too.
    We don't eliminate all zeros: in a 45 cards deck in addition to jam-gun zeros we keep 4 zeros for the Reduced Zeros B DD. This is because in 45 cards decks, A DD has 9 zeros and B DD has 13: so we do 13 - 9 = 4, just to keep the relative odds


    If someone doesn't like the idea eliminating all zeros from the A DD for scout's frontal arc firing, you can leave a few ... and adjust your reduced zeros B DD accordingly.

  16. #16

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    I found this interesting tidbit, from The Eyes of the Army and Navy: Practical Aviation by Albert H. Munday. In a list of "ten commandments" when attacking hostile aircraft:
    (2) Do not press an attack on a two-seater that fires at you before you are in perfect position. Break away and attack it or another hostile aircraft later with a chance of surprise.
    (3) Do not stay to maneuver with a two-seater.

    That sort of caution would seem to support 2 seaters being a bit tough, but I'm sure it depended on the model and firepower of the 2 seater. It just muddies the water

  17. #17

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    I started a similar thread in general discussions re two seaters being too effective. My opinion is that trying to shoot a moving target from a moving vehicle with a moveable weapon is no easy task. To reflect this and not skew the percentages I prefer using percentile dice against new stats for A and B rear guns. Also made rear guns less likely to jam as they are not synchronised and have a dedicated operator.

    The card system works well for speeding up the game but I dont like the way it skews the results depending on what cards have been draw previously. Having said that if playing eith novices or just for fun cards work really well.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by sbutton View Post
    My opinion is that The card system works well for speeding up the game but I dont like the way it skews the results depending on what cards have been draw previously. Having said that if playing eith novices or just for fun cards work really well.
    Using multiple decks can reduce this effect significantly Steve. We even had a list for the number of guns each deck could handle before you needed to add another deck. That is why I ended up with tripple decks for my games.
    Rob.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Flying Officer Kyte View Post
    Using multiple decks can reduce this effect significantly Steve. We even had a list for the number of guns each deck could handle before you needed to add another deck. That is why I ended up with tripple decks for my games.
    Rob.
    Rob, I know its not strickly on topic but with regard to your post I looked in the files for a gun to deck rato list but couldn't find one. Can you point me to the list ? My take on WoW/WoG is that its a great mechanic which keeps record keeping down to a minimum.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by sbutton View Post
    Rob, I know its not strickly on topic but with regard to your post I looked in the files for a gun to deck rato list but couldn't find one. Can you point me to the list ? My take on WoW/WoG is that its a great mechanic which keeps record keeping down to a minimum.
    I'm not sure where it is in the Files Steve. it may even be in the KoTA rules.
    I will try and find it when I get time for a good browse.
    Rob.

  21. #21

  22. #22

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    Quote Originally Posted by sbutton View Post
    .....The card system works well for speeding up the game but I don't like the way it skews the results depending on what cards have been draw previously. Having said that if playing either novices or just for fun cards work really well.
    To alleviate that issue some chaps note the damage caused in a turn & return the cards to the deck Steve so you are playing with a full deck every turn

  23. #23

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    I've always been in the "all the solutions so far suggested are not worth the extra effort" however I think doctoring the rear gun decks may offer a solution. In the past I have had problems with tracking multiple decks and getting them all mixed up - "did this B damage card come from the front or rear deck????"

    There is a window of opportunity now with the revised rules decks becoming available to build rear gun versions of the decks using the "old" style cards and the front guns from the "new" ones which are visually different enough to be easy to keep apart.

    I'd rather add zeros to the rear gun deck than take them from the front, so would just doubling the zeros and jams in rear gun decks be about right?

  24. #24

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    Quote Originally Posted by PilGrim View Post
    There is a window of opportunity now with the revised rules decks becoming available to build rear gun versions of the decks using the "old" style cards and the front guns from the "new" ones which are visually different enough to be easy to keep apart.
    Inspired thinking Ken. We have Old A,B, C, D decks just waiting to be customised.
    Rob.



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