Stop telling me Assault is Unrealistic. A journey into Army Doctrine

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A guest editorial from Anonymou5 on assault in 40K!

Stop telling me Assault is Unrealistic.  A journey into Army Doctrine

 

6th Edition seems to have focused the community into camps, arguing the various merits of assault, shooting, and balanced forces in the game.  This has lead to measures such as the Frontline Gaming Crew adapting a more terrain oriented approach to their tournaments.  I personally prefer heavy terrain, as I think it makes the game more fun and tactical.  However, I think Reece has become the patron saint for the “pro terrain” movement, and I’m not here to discuss that.

 

I’m here to discuss Assault as a concept, and why it belongs in 40k.  I constantly see the argument against Assault framed as “Assault isn’t realistic, it doesn’t belong in my scifi game.”  I’m not even going to address the base ridiculousness of that argument, as 40k left realism at the door at its very inception, and instead judge it on its merits.  Is Assault realistic?

 

These arguments generally come down to separate points.

 

1)     It’s impossible to get that close to an enemy.  All these powerful weapon systems would kill you miles away.   Real world armies fight at extreme range.

2)     Why would you stab someone with a chain sword when you could just shoot them?

 

Point 2 is irrelevant in my opinion.   In the context of the setting, a superhuman soldier can punch a man hard enough to kill him in one blow, extra dimensional beings can devour your soul, and swarms of bio engineered beasts can tear through any material.  If that doesn’t work, you can just roll it into the general abstraction that is 40k, just because a Fire Warrior is in Assault doesn’t mean his lucky kill of a Tervigon wasn’t a pulse rifle shot through the eye.

 

No, I’m focused on point 1.  Because if close range fighting is realistic, however you visualize the actual Assault Phase is pointless; so long as you believe it’s possible for forces to close on one another in the face of overwhelming firepower.

 

To make this short, yes, it’s possible.  It’s realistic.  Now, that’s out of the way, feel free to read the rest of the article to see why (or close it and go on with your life).  But first, I warn you; there’s some ranting in here.  I also warn you, there’s a paragraph that may seem like I’m gloating.  I promise I am not, but presenting my “bonafides” gives my conclusions some weight.  Finally, I ask you for your opinion.  Let me know if this kind of argument has merit, do readers want to see 40k compared to actual Military Doctrine?  If so, it’s a format I can revisit.  Consider this an experiment.

 

Caveats finished, now it’s time to dig into this.  To many in the community, the argument is simple.  Real Armies shoot each from far away, 40k weapons are roughly analogous to real world weapons, thus the Assault Phase is stupid.  Well, many in the community are wrong.  Many in the community watch some history channel, saw Restrepo, and consider themselves experts on warfare.   There is no other area of life besides warfare where the average person decides they are experts.  I don’t know how many civilians have told me “I thought about joining the Army,” and followed it with a diatribe about what the Army should do in situation x.  Or, my favorite, the time a friend of mine told me “If I was in the military I’d be Special Forces,” as he struggled to breathe after the physical exertion of walking to a table at a restaurant.

 

Well, 99% of you aren’t experts.  Even if your PHD is in military history, you are still not an expert.  Your PHD makes you an expert on the actual Historical events, not the tactical level decisions and reasoning.  I am not an expert either, but I am a Professional.  I was a Rifle Platoon Leader in Kandahar Province during the Surge and took the fight to the Taliban.  I trained up and partnered with an Afghan National Army Heavy Weapons Company, focusing heavily on small unit tactics.  In Kunar Province I advised multiple Afghan Local Police and Afghan National Police Districts on paramiltary operations and rule of law.  I am a graduate of a plethora of advanced Military Schooling, and am at least, in theory, a master of Company Level Maneuver Warfare, as well as a ton of ancillary related skills ranging from Airborne Operations to Family Readiness.  I am by no means the be all, end all, of the Military, but I know a thing or two about a thing or two.

 

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Chest puffing aside, let’s figure out some ground rules.  First, what does Warhammer 40k simulate?  There is some grey area here, but it is roughly Platoon Plus through Company level Combined Arms Maneuver, with the player simulating the Ground Force Commander.   I’ll dig into what that means shortly, but we need that compare that to a real world frame of reference:   The United States Army (other forces could obviously be used, but it needs to be a ground force, for reasons I will get into).

 

So, what does the Army do?  What is its job?  This is a more difficult question than I imagine a lot of readers would expect.  Most people might answer something to the effect of “it fights wars.”  That is true, but it is not the Army’s sole function.   The average Soldier would also answer this wrong, and would say “To close with and destroy the enemy.”  Which again, is partially correct, but does not paint the whole picture.  Although, if that were the answer, this article would be much shorter.   To really get into the Army, and to frame it to 40k, I’m going to start “big picture” and narrow it down until we get to where I want.

 

The Army is actually part of a larger system; effectively the entire United States acting in concert.  This includes Government Agencies (think State Department, other Military Services, etc) and Non Government Agencies (everything from the Red Cross to Major Corporations) implementing policy.  This is known as “Unified Action.” The Army’s piece of the puzzle, the Army’s actual “job” is to conduct Unified Land Operations.

 

Unified Land Operations, according to ADRP 3-0 (see, real doctrine) are offensive, defensive, and stability operations, and defensive of civil services.  In short, attacking, defending, rebuilding, and helping inside the US.  The Army accomplishes these tasks through its core competencies, which are effectively the Army’s two skills (and what matter here): Combined Arms Maneuver and Wide Area Security.   These tasks are guided by the principles of Mission Command (which is the role you assume when you take over a 40k game)

 

Combined Arms Maneuver is what matters in 40k, because that is what the 40k Commander executes through his tools of Mission Command (which are rolling dice, moving figures, etc).  Doctrinally Combined Arms Maneuver is “the application of the elements of combat power in unified action to defeat enemy ground forces; to seize, occupy, and defend land areas; and to achieve physical, temporal, and psychological advantages over the enemy to seize and exploit the initiative”  (ADRP 3-0 again).  Great, what does that mean?  Basically when something needs to happen on the ground, all the elements of the fight come together at one point and work together to achieve the option.

 

Generally, we frame this as “Fires, Maneuver and Effects.”  Or, often, just Fire and Maneuever.  Really, all combat comes down to Fire and Maneuver.  Fire, is well, shooting stuff.  Everything from an M4 or Bolter, to A-10 or Vulture gunruns, all the way up Naval Gunfire or a Riptide Ion Accelerator.  Maneuver is a tactical movement intended to gain a relative advantage to the enemy.  This could be moving a machine gun squad to the high ground, or sliding your tactical marines into area terrain.  Fire makes Maneuver happen, Maneuver makes Fire happen.  Effects is everything else.  Military Intelligence, Engineer Support, Psykers, Tau Commanders, etc.

 

A brief aside, this is why only a ground force service would really apply to 40k, in a combined arms force, the Ground Force Commander is always the boss.  When I was an Army Lieutenant I bossed around plenty of Air Force pilots who outranked me.   40k simulates Army or Marine combat forces supported by other services.

 

So now we understand Combined Arms Maneuver, and why that applies to Warhammer 40k, but how does that relate Assault?  How are close in fights realistic, when I just explained how Ground Force Commanders have the entire arsenal of the military at their disposal?

 

To demonstrate, I’m going to dial the scale back and explain the most basic tactical task in the Army.  A Squad Attack.  This used to be known as Battle Drill 1, and some of the old timers reading this are very familiar with it.  Now, according to FM 3-21.8 (the Infantry Platoon and Squad) it is now only known as a hasty attack.  But the Drill hasn’t changed.  It hasn’t changed in thousands of years.  It is the basic tactic to ground force combat, and you can find it in every war, at every scale.  The supporting pieces will change based on the size of the element involved, but the essential concept remains the same.   If you have a combat formation, and you master this drill, you will be able to fight and win in nearly any scenario.

 

Here’s how it works.  I’m going to show it, rather than just copy the entire Battle Drill in.

 

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This is an Air Assault Infantry Squad attacking an enemy Observation Post.  The Squad is broken up into two Teams.  The lead Team is in a Support By Fire Position.  That means they are shooting at the enemy with the intent of fixing them in place in support of a maneuver element.  The OP is shooting back.  They are Air Assault because the 101st Airborne is the best, obviously.

 

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The second Team begins to maneuver, preferably out of sight, towards the enemy location.  They do this so that…

 

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They can seize the enemy position.  They do this through, what I kid you not, is known as an “assault.”  Obviously real Soldiers don’t hit each other with chainswords, but a proper execution of the core Battle Drill in all of Maneuver Warfare will often end up with combat fought in what is commonly referred to as “hand grenade range.”  And will end up looking like this at the end…

 

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Notice the Squad is standing where the enemy was standing.  Note, again, this isn’t some obscure piece of military doctrine, the cornerstone of Maneuver Warfare results in Soldiers standing on top of a piece of ground that was once owned by their opponents.   Firefights happen at close range all the time, and if real Soldiers wore Power Armor, or were made of genetically engineered shells, or shifted in and out of reality, I bet they would be clawing each other too.

 

In short, the argument that “assault is stupid because no one can get that close with modern weapons” is a flawed one.  Soldiers get close all the time, and they do it because there is more to a firefight than long range precision weapons.

 

In my basic example of Battle Drill 1, the assaulting squad can close the distance because of supporting fire.  This is the very basis of Fire and Maneuver.  There are other ways too; utilizing obscuration from smoke grenades and indirect fire, using indirect fire to fix the enemy in place, taking advantage of rapid deployment options such as Air Assault and Airborne Operations, maximizing cover and concealment on the approach, conducting maneuver when the enemy is unprepared at sundown and sunset, approaching at night, working in concert with air force assets, and etc and etc.

 

40k is an abstraction of the pivotal moment of a larger conflict, any or all of these options could be at play in the Assault Phase in a given game.  It is not unrealistic, and in fact, properly represents the Decisive Point of many real life conflicts.

 

This whole “debate” reminds me of a quote that is very commonly thrown about in the Army.  By changing a one key word, it applies to 40k as well…

 

“You may fly over a land forever; you may bomb it, atomize it, pulverize it and wipe it clean of life-but if you desire to defend it, protect it, and keep it for the Emperor, you must do this on the ground, the way the Roman legions did, by putting your young men into the mud.”

-T. R. Fehrenbach, This Kind of War

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58 Responses to “Stop telling me Assault is Unrealistic. A journey into Army Doctrine”

  1. Denzark October 10, 2013 1:14 am #

    Very interesting and well rationalised. I must disagree doctrinally with one piece. The role of the army is not to close with and destroy the enemy – but sure as shizzle that is the role of the infantry.

    And actually, the infantry is the main effort of the army – because as you paraphrase – the holding of the ground is the only combat effect that wins wars – all other inputs from combined forces, etc – is to get the grunt to the stage where meat meets the metal.

    And if you get a bit Clausewitzian and agree that war is diplomacy by other means, you come back to the fact that the most pertinent effect, in order to win that conflict, is the closing with and destroying of the enemy.

    • anonymou5 October 10, 2013 3:42 am #

      You’re not disagreeing with me, my rambling just got in the way of my point, I said “The average Soldier would also answer this wrong, and would say “To close with and destroy the enemy.” Which again, is partially correct, but does not paint the whole picture.” Then went on to define the Army’s job by doctrine. (which is currently called Unified Land Operations, although the name changes roughly every ten years, haha)

      “To close with and destroy” isn’t even the Infantry’s job, it’s just a cool short and descriptive catch phrase. It’s just something the average Soldier says all the time, and thinks its his job.

      I really should have worked in some Clausewitz, haha. Fortunately you’ve corrected that oversight. I won’t let it happen again!

      • Denzark October 10, 2013 8:31 am #

        Aha – I rambled a bit too. By which I should have clarified, a while back, the British Army doctrine gave the Infantry mission as something along the lines of: ‘To close with, and destroy the enemy, in all weathers and all terrains.’ – it may have changed now because how else are half colonels going to get made full colonels without changing doctrine every couple of years?

        I can’t comment on US doctrine – but still if your war aims are not about holding the mud, you’re probably doing it wrong (Kosovo Air campaign being the exception that proves the rule).

      • stewy37 October 11, 2013 8:08 pm #

        “To close with and destroy” may not be the job of the Army infantry, but it damn sure is the job of the Marine rifle squad, who’s mission is:

        “To locate, close with, and destroy the enemy, by fire and maneuver, or repel the enemy assault by fire and close combat.”

        See, it’s all about assault in the end. No matter how many bombs you drop on a target, at some point you have to put some boots on the objective, clear out any stragglers, and take the ground. And how many times has it happened in a game of 40k where you shoot the hell out of a unit, but it still has one or two guys left. Then it comes down to assault to finish off the unit that has been weakened by fire.

        Good job on the article.

  2. Dan October 10, 2013 1:18 am #

    Currently deployed with 4th BCT, Currahee to Khost. To be honest, I don’t really care about what people think about the assault phase. I do what I want. But you are certainly right, 101st is the best.

    • anonymou5 October 10, 2013 12:01 pm #

      Well, you know the drill, stay safe, watch your step, and keep your head down. And remember, open with “Sengai” and close with “Hoidai Paman”

      Were you in 4BCT for OEF X in RC East? I have some buddies who were PLs there then.

  3. Julnlecs October 10, 2013 1:30 am #

    Great Read. I really enjoyed it.

  4. Trianglebob777 October 10, 2013 4:44 am #

    Lt: Sergeant, let’s move closer so I can hit them with my sword!
    Sgt: Sir you know that sword is cerimonial right?
    Lt: CHAAARGE!

    That’s why you can’t spell casualty without Lt.

    All kidding aside I stopped reading the article once you said the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) was the best because obviously you know what you’re talking about. AIR ASSAULT!

    • anonymou5 October 10, 2013 12:02 pm #

      Air Assault!

  5. Gordy October 10, 2013 5:46 am #

    Another way of looking at it; firearms dominate modern warfare because they’re massively more deadly than anything else, and even at room distances it’s easier to shoot someone than to try and kill them in hand to hand combat.

    Add in powered armor that makes your massively strong super-soldier virtually immune to small arms fire, like Space Marines theoretically would be, though, and there’s no reason for the SM to waste ammo. He might as well hit the bad guys with his hammer. It’s not like they’re going to be able to shoot him first, unless they get a lucky shot in with literally an anti-tank weapon. Suddenly, hand to hand combat becomes a viable strategic alternative.

    • anonymou5 October 10, 2013 12:16 pm #

      That’s a good point, I tried to touch on it a little bit; but I wanted to focus more on why close range fire fights are possible. Once Super Soldiers get close, it seems obvious to me that they would start slapping people around.

      Anti tank weapons are next to useless up close anyway. Most of them have minimum ranges for one, and for another, in the confusion of an assault the backblast is likely to kill more of your guy’s than the enemy.

      • Gordy October 10, 2013 1:09 pm #

        Exactly. If the only thing you’re really vulnerable to is anti tank weapons, which are all too clumsy to use in close quarters, it makes a lot of sense to get in your opponent’s face.

  6. Skari October 10, 2013 5:48 am #

    This was a good review . I have to agree with you. Its very similar to a refused flank, a firing and slow element holds the pivot point as. A flank with your fast moving elements, hoping to use terrain and cover to minimize the damage.

    • anonymou5 October 10, 2013 12:08 pm #

      It’s the same concept basically, utilizing your maneuver advantage to create a relative advantage, and then exploiting that advantage. Good comparison.

      Refuse Flank is an actual tactical term, dictating back to older maneuver concepts. At its heart its the same thing as Fire and Maneuver.

  7. fluger October 10, 2013 7:40 am #

    I still haven’t ever had this story full confirmed or denied, but still: http://pistol-forum.com/showthread.php?4845-British-bayonet-charge-Basra-Iraq-May-2004

    TL:DR. It is an oft-retold tale of British troops in Iraq running out of ammo and charging at superior numbers and winning.

    I often wonder how comparable real-world tactics are to 40k. In my civilian opinion, it seems like there is very little but the most simplistic analogy.

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 10, 2013 10:22 am #

      If that Bayonet charge story is true, that is fucking awesome! Those dudes are bad ass!

      • anonymou5 October 10, 2013 12:06 pm #

        It’s true. I had a British Instructor for a JRTC rotation who was there. Or so he claimed anyway.

        There was a smaller one in RC South in Afghanistan as well.

        Fluger: RL tactics compare sometimes, but not how you expect. Actual combat generally comes down to the phrase I quote above, “gain a relative advantage.” This is done through Fire, Maneuver and Effects, obviously, but at the tactical level; generally it’s done through coordinated maneuver and exploitation of terrain. In 40k you see that a lot, but not generally from the more “realistic” forces. The Armies that cross over with actual tactics most often are the ones that exploit the movement phase to win games. Thus, the most “realistic” 40k Armies in my opinion are Daemons, Necrons, and both flavors of Eldar. Which is kind of hilarious.

        40k has “Fires” as well, obviously, but you don’t exploit them like you do in real life. For example, in a real firefight, you will escalate your fires to cover your maneuver. Larger Artillery leads into smaller artillery or mortars, which transitions to grenade launchers and machine guns. Then even those Machine Guns will be directed at different targets (dictated by control measures). That kind of planning and exploitation is not represented well on the table top.

        • Reecius
          Reecius October 10, 2013 12:32 pm #

          Damn, that is legit. I love the quote, “I wanted to put the fear of God in them.”

          I read an article my friend, a Swat Team Police Officer and former Marine Force Recon Sniper (so in general, a dude whose opinion on these matter carries weight) sent me about why knives are so lethal at close quarters. It showed a Police Officer that got cut to ribbons by a guy with a knife that came at him ultra aggressively. Even prepared for violent action, the guy covered the room’s distance between them before the officer could raise his pistol and slashed him nearly to death. The article then went on to say that at a certain distance (I can’t remember what it was) it was extremely unlikely that anyone, even a trained soldier or officer, could raise, aim and fire a sidearm before an attacker with a melee weapon was on them and inflicting damage.

          My friend said that in the heat of the moment, if someone is bearing down on you with the intent to kill it is a lot harder to calmly aim and accurately fire a weapon than one would think. Considering you may only have fractions of a second to act that makes sense to me.

          So, in that context, I can totally see assault working, particularly in a dense environment like a city or something similar. One of my best buds was 11B in Iraq and Afghanistan and did room clearing actions frequently and he said as often as not, going through the door with a Shotgun, if there was any action to be had it was jamming the barrel of your weapon in someone’s face and incapacitating them that way.

          At any rate, I am rambling. I agree with your assessment and think it is totally viable. If they aren’t just nuking the enemy from orbit in the first place, then that means they have to go and take something from them at close range or stop them from taking something of theirs.

          • anonymou5 October 10, 2013 2:44 pm
            #

            My rambling nature is contagious!

            Definitely some validity to your buddy’s point about a knife in CCQ. Although that’s much more an issue for a police officer than a Soldier, for two reasons.

            1) Police Officers have much tighter ROE (Rules of Engagement), and such are rarely at the high ready and primed to shoot. Soldiers taking a room are almost always going to be at the high ready, which requires much less time to react.

            2) Soldiers are better equipped. When I go into a room I’ve got my M4 at high ready, and I’m wearing a Plate Carrier and a helmet. All told I’m nearly 300 pounds in full gear. The average Afghan is probably 110. I welcome him coming at me with a knife versus an AK. The drill is to hit him in hte face with your barrel if he closes, then fire. Barring that, you can basically just fall into him. He’s unlikely to knife anything vital, and your massive size advantage is game over. I used to tell my Soldiers that a headbutt kill (remember, helmets) was an instant Bronze Star recommendation (I may not have been the most PC leader)

            You’re (or your buddy is anyway) dead on about the value of Shotguns in room clearing. We didn’t do much building clearing in RC South (because of the huge dismounted IED threat); it was more building demolition/destruction, but when we did, we definitely brought a shotgun (I have a sweet pic of one of my Team Leaders coming out of a hut with his shotgun I’ll email you if I can find it). One of the reasons I bought a Mossberg for my personal shotgun was because I loved it downrange so much (where as I recommend against anyone getting an AR series of Rifle for the opposite reason)

            /ramble

          • Reecius
            Reecius October 11, 2013 8:13 am
            #

            Yeah, that makes sense about the armor, I hadn’t thought about that. And my friend said the Shotgun also doubled as a breaching tool if they needed to blow the lock off of a door, etc. and that it was just an all around better tool for that type of job.

  8. michael October 10, 2013 8:06 am #

    I agree, but I wish there was a mechanic in the game that would allow for suppressing fire to actually work. I would love to be able to run my Space Marines following real Marine Battle Doctrine, but can I use my Blood Angels tac marines firepower to force an enemy unit to perform a retreat into cover or too cower in cover and do NOTHING while my assault marines flank and assault? Not really! I suppose taking imperial guard allies as an artillery supporting unit would be reliable…hhhmmm 3 basilsks backing up a space marine assault.
    Perhaps if I can get a pinning check from ordnance or sniper fire…but that is a big if.
    But, anyway I agree assault of course has a place in 40k, personally I’ve always seen the assault phase as close quarters combat. Which, like you suggested would include shooting a rifle, sub machine, pistol, shot gun or if the enemy is close enough using a bayonet or your fists. There is a reason we receive MCMAP training.

    • anonymou5 October 10, 2013 12:10 pm #

      I just visualize the game as the enemy always being suppressed. I would love an actual game mechanic, but it’s kind of represented anyway by the dice mechanics being what they are. Otherwise there is no possible way for some of the maneuvers in the game to happen, haha.

      More pinning would work; or some sort of “Suppressing Fire” option. Where you reduce teh enemy’s BS rather than cause wounds.

      MCMAP, much like MACP, is just enough to get your ass kicked, haha. When I went through MAC1, I went through with a guy who used to be a gatekeeper in PRIDE. He tapped all of our instructors in less than 2 minutes, combined.

      • michael October 10, 2013 3:47 pm #

        In the end I think we forget that 40k isn’t really a simulation. Its a fast and fluid game.

  9. Tarrant October 10, 2013 8:50 am #

    Interesting read. Thank you for your service in the military and for taking the time to write this article.

    T.

    • anonymou5 October 10, 2013 12:12 pm #

      Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the article, I may do more relating 40k to actual tactics Armies, as it seems like people enjoyed it.

  10. Cruzcontrol39 October 10, 2013 9:27 am #

    My Jitz beats MCMAP every time… Go Air Force!!!

    • michael October 10, 2013 3:48 pm #

      Whhhhhatttt??? I don’t know if I can take that lying down!
      Actually its been so long I don’t give a shit.
      But….I would kick your ass

      • TrueKnight October 10, 2013 6:52 pm #

        There needs to be a like button lol… Air Force doesn’t teach Jitz so you can’t use that as validation :p

        • Cruzcontrol39 October 10, 2013 6:54 pm #

          I teach it to Air Force….

      • Cruzcontrol39 October 10, 2013 6:56 pm #

        Lol… That’s what a lot of Marines say, until they get choked out! Then they join my class and are fucking beasts!

        • TrueKnight October 11, 2013 6:32 am #

          As a general force wide doctrine like mcmap is?

          • Cruzcontrol39 October 11, 2013 8:59 am
            #

            Sadly no, we are taught the Army’s Combatitives as volunteer base only…

        • Reecius
          Reecius October 11, 2013 8:34 am #

          You teach BJJ?

          • Cruzcontrol39 October 11, 2013 8:56 am
            #

            Yes, bjj, mma, foot fist way!

          • Reecius
            Reecius October 11, 2013 11:27 am
            #

            Nice! I used to train BJJ and Thai boxing in my younger days. That is no joke the way to do it. I was down in San Diego so we had a number of SEALS that trained with us and they all said they were willing to pay extra and go on their own time to MMA training as it was so much better.

          • Cruzcontrol39 October 11, 2013 3:46 pm
            #

            Yeah, I love it but age is getting to me… Almost 40 and my body hurts… Can’t wait to retire and play some games with you fools!

          • Reecius
            Reecius October 11, 2013 4:15 pm
            #

            Yeah, I am in my 30’s as well and I don’t do it anymore, either. I stopped in my mid 20’s when I got ring worm for the umpteenth time. Just wasn’t worth it anymore.

  11. Alex Yuen October 10, 2013 9:52 am #

    I am kind of confused. We play a game where there is one GOD sitting on a golden toilet and shooting lighting blot out of his ass or his underling ass. where a spacecraft can destroy a whole planet in space but we have to send ground force over and over again. where we believe this super human call space poop and he is all super but die to a lascannon that set up by a 15 years old girl. etc etc etc

    now are assault realistic in this game? I read the title i was like O someone understand 6th is not all shooting but just balance out assault from 5th.

    • anonymou5 October 10, 2013 12:18 pm #

      It’s just like in real life, we have weapons that can flatten cities. But sometimes you need a scalpel, not a sledgehammer.

      For 50 years we keep telling ourselves that airpower can win wars alone, but then we keep finding ourselves in protracted ground fights. There is more to war than destroying the enemy; that’s true now, and it will be true in 38 thousand years.

      • Alex Yuen October 10, 2013 1:29 pm #

        It don’t matter assault is realistic or not when you have GOD sitting on golden toilet. and the rest of the crazy stuff that suppose to fit in the 40k world. is a fantasy world for minds to escape reality.

        • anonymou5 October 10, 2013 2:45 pm #

          Sure, it doesn’t matter if its realistic…..but people argue “realism” against Assault all the time; it’s nice to have the counter argument.

          Plus it’s fun, haha

  12. GoodOleBoy October 10, 2013 10:17 am #

    Great article! Are you at CGSC right now? Or just able to read and apply doctrine? If the former, shoot me a reply and we’ll have to link up for a game!

    • anonymou5 October 10, 2013 12:13 pm #

      I’m not that senior, currently filling a seat at MCCC at Benning. I just like to learn Doctrine, it helps to know it when I explain why I choose to ignore it. Haha.

      If I’m ever near Leavenworth though, I’d love to get a game.

  13. Stinkbomba October 10, 2013 10:45 am #

    I got proof, assault works and its definitely realitic in 40k!

    I just played Eldar vs Tau, and my three Wraithknights smashed ten firewarriors, a bastion
    and a two Riptides.

  14. Reecius
    Reecius October 10, 2013 10:58 am #

    Great article as usual, Anonymou5!

    • anonymou5 October 10, 2013 2:45 pm #

      Thanks! I couldn’t do it without my fearless editor.

      • Reecius
        Reecius October 11, 2013 8:13 am #

        Haha, you credit me too much!

  15. Creed October 10, 2013 8:48 pm #

    Thats an awesome read! Brilliant idea to use Battle Drill 1 to illustrate your point. One thing that I’ve thought ought to be introduced into the game that would represent Suppressive Fire better would be to make Heavy Bolters have the Pinning rule. It would represent squad maneuvers better and make them worth including in squads.

    • anonymou5 October 14, 2013 10:06 am #

      Yeah that would be fantastic, and makes a lot of sense. It should be a Space Marines SAW equivalent.

  16. Stinkbomba October 10, 2013 10:47 pm #

    Jeah, had a good time reading your article Anonymou5!

  17. Moridan October 11, 2013 4:54 am #

    Very interesting . My hat is off to any grunt who spent time in the mud, dirt, snow, or shit. A Civvy will never understand the easy life they have due to the sacrifices of a few good soldiers. I feel that I can say this as a veteran of 23 yrs who spent time in many tactical comm units in Saudi, Turkey, and Iraq in early 03.

    To comment on the heart of the article, assault is completely valid in real life as well as 40K. I think 6ed did a fairly good job balancing it out such that even though you need to make it through overwatch (which I find very realistic), the rewards of a proper assault is enormous.

  18. Tom October 12, 2013 10:35 am #

    I really liked this post. I’m currently trying to write a wargame, and I’ve struggled with adequately translating fire and maneuver tactics into a table-top game. I agree with some of the other posters — the basic problem with 40k is a lack of adequate pinning mechanics to allow fire to suppress a unit’s movement.

    • anonymou5 October 14, 2013 10:08 am #

      If you could make the concepts work on the table top, you would definitely have my interest.

      If you ever want to spitball some ideas off of a nerd with fire and maneuver experience, feel free to shoot me an email. All my consulting is free!

  19. Fulcrum October 12, 2013 11:33 pm #

    In my game today, as happens often in 40k these days, my badass assault unit jumped out of it’s LRC & promptly failed (in consecutive turns) charges of 4″ & 5″.

    This is the biggest problem with assault, it is totally unreliable without even bringing overwatch into the conversation.

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 13, 2013 8:26 am #

      Yeah, that has happened to me multiple times, too. You need a reroll to stay consistent.

      • anonymou5 October 14, 2013 10:11 am #

        And sometimes that doesn’t save you. I failed a 4 inch charge with my Daemon Prince of Slaanesh yesterday. She has fleet. She died after that, of course. A Daemon Prince standing on the ground is not very survivable.

        That game was silly, I lost all my DPs, and I felt like I was playing Necrons at the end. One Pink Horror was on one objective, five were on another, and Fateweaver landed on his. Game ends, I win 2-0 objectives.

        • Reecius
          Reecius October 14, 2013 10:23 am #

          I have seen that happen multiple times, haha, stupid Fateweaver! But yeah, DPs are really pretty fragile without psychic buffs to sustain them.

          • anonymou5 October 14, 2013 11:50 am
            #

            I always tell newer Daemon players that Princes are scalpels not sledgehammers. They cost 300+ points because they’re insane force multipliers who can also beat up on weaker units, not because they are 300 point beat sticks. They will lose to other 300 point units if they aren’t buffed appropriately.

            Which is silly really, it doesn’t match the fluff. Tzeentch Princes should be as they all are, but Slaanesh and Nurgle Princes should have less psycher access, but better statlines (T6 at least), and Khorne Princes should have no powers at all but be monsterous. Right now Khorne Princes might as well not exist. They’re useless. If you were elevated to Daemonhood for being a badass, you should actually be a badass, not worse than most mortal champions.

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