Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Fulda Gap - Weapon Ranges

One of the biggest controversies in wargames is weapon ranges. Of course there is a need for abstraction, mainly because of limited space to play. A Rheinmetall 120 mm tank gun, as mounted on the M1A1 Abrams, Leopard 2 and Challenger 2, has a range of 4000m. In Micro Armour scale (1/285th) this translates still to over 14m, and in 1/56th you'd need a football field to get out of reach. 
Even the Beretta M9 9mm pistol, standard side arm of the US Army, has an effective firing range of 50m, or 89cm = 35" in 1/56th.

For Fulda Gap I chose this rule:

Even with the abstractions of time and distance in a wargame, modern weapons have ranges exceeding the usual size of a gaming table by far.
Therefore, all weapons have a theoretical unlimited range only restricted by Line-of-Sight. The ranges given for each weapon type indicate an optimal fighting distance. Up to this distance, shooting does not suffer penalties. If the target is further away, a -1 penalty applies for every time the optimal distance is exceeded. For example, a soldier with an Assault Rifle fires at an enemy squad 50" away. He suffers a penalty of -2, -1 for exceeding 24" and -1 for exceeding 48” (2x24").
Just for comparison: even under best conditions, a soldier won't be able to hit an enemy with an Assault Rifle at a distance of 97", roughly translating into 200 meters, while the official effective firing range for a real-life M16 at a point target is 550 meters.

This changes the dynamic of the game quite a bit - you can't stay out of range, you must stay out of sight.

It also allows to streamline more rules - for example, all anti-tank guns can use the same range (48") and will only differ in their PEN-value.

In reality, it allows to engage the enemy earlier in the game, but will even out during later turns. Cover, pin marker and other modifiers will limit effective firing ranges fast - a unit with two pin markers shooting at an enemy in soft cover is already down to an effective range of 24".


  1. It may be worth looking at how Chain of Command handles shooting for comparison.
    Rifles can fire at the whole table, but are more effective within 18" (effective vs. close range). Hitting is like in FoW, according to target ability. Tank and AT fire done similarly, no on-table artillery. The heaviest thing affecting the table are heavy mortars as it is a platoon game.

    Enjoying these posts - looks like an interesting period to game!

  2. Thanks a lot for your comment, I'll look into Chain of Command. Sounds like an interesting system!

    There will be another Fulda Gap post in the next days.