Soldat:
Rules for Squad Level Combat
in the Second World War

Wargame Rules Review

Soldat Wargame Rules

Soldat rules are designed for simulating infantry squad level combat in the Second World War. The instructions cover many interesting aspects of ground combat which are often simply ignored in games of this scale, like ski troops, combat engineering, casualty treatment, vehicle hit locations, ambushes, camouflage and sentry alertness.

Contents

  • 38-page Rule Book, spiral bound, 25 illustrations, 30 tables, written by Tim Goodlett.
    • Basic Rules, 42 Pages
    • Optional Rules, 7 Pages
    • Infantry Ratings, 2 Pages
    • Vehicle Data, 5 Pages
    • Armour Ratings, 3 Pages
    • Gun Data, 1 Page
    • 10 Szenarios, 10 Pages
    • Quick Play Sheet, 3 Pages

Scales

  • 1 Turn equals 1-2 minutes, subdivided into 4 impulses and 3 administrative phases.
  • 1 inch equals 10 feet (1 cm equals 1.2 meters)
  • 1 Model equals 1 Soldier, 1 Gun or 1 Vehicle
  • 20 sided dice are used

Sequence of Play

  • Impulse Phase 1-4
    • Movement
      • Hand to Hand Declaration
      • Normal Movement
      • Assault Aggressiveness Check
      • Assault Movement
      • Mine Field Resolution
      • Aircraft Movement (optional)
    • Observation
    • Fire Combat
      • Indirect Fire
      • Suppressive Fire
      • Direct Fire
    • Acquisition
    • Aggressiveness Check
  • Close Combat Phase 5
  • Morale Test & Rally Phase 6
  • Communication & Admin Phase 7

Evaluation

Infantry ratings of German, British & Commonwealth, US, Soviet, French, Italian, Polish, German allies and other allied forces are included.

Vehicle and gun data covers all standard types.

The rules correctly differentiate between true LMGs like the MG 34 and squad automatic weapons like the Bren and BAR, giving belt-fed light machine guns greater firepower and better penetration, but requiring that they remain stationary to fire. Bren guns need not be set up to fire, they may even fire while moving.

Squads and platoons require written orders which clearly describe the type of mission, the objective and any special conditions. Higher echelon commanders may change orders of lower level units, but only if the new orders conform to the leaders own orders. The process makes sense, but the validity of a new orders may be open to interpretation among players. Willful disobedience of orders is covered in the rules, and it can result in the immediate removal of the leader in the event that the attempt fails.

Infantry movement at high speed incurs proper penalties. Firing is not possible while sprinting and after 3 turns of sprinting the soldiers must rest for one turn.

Road movement is clearly differentiated from combat movement, vehicles may not fire or acquire targets while moving at high speed.

The terrain effects table covers 42 types of difficult ground, with more than 20 modifiers. Vehicle breakdown checks are required when moving in difficult terrain, possibly resulting in partial or complete immobilization. Bog checks are required to drive vehicles across frozen water surfaces or into stone buildings.

The movement rules cover ski troops, assault boat movement, glider and parachute landings, rigging and towing disabled vehicles as well as infantry exiting and boarding through vehicle hatches, rear ramps and doors.

The designers recommend using periscopes to check line of sight.

Reductions in visibility are severe. In light fog, stationary vehicles are visible up to 240 yards, compared to 80 yards in heavy fog conditions. Daylight desert visibility checks take into account the heat distortion effect, reducing the maximum spotting range against stationary infantry and dug in heavy weapons to 120 yards.

Six cover and concealment classification apply: Exposed, no cover, light cover, partial cover, full cover and heavy cover. Going prone, wearing appropriate camouflage or using camouflage nets in prepared positions improves the cover class. Incorrect camouflage and sprinting reduce the cover class of target unit.

Terrain effects on combat are correctly differentiated. Swamps provide light cover for infantry moving under small arms fire, partial cover for stationary infantry under small arms fire, full cover against direct or indirect HE fire and partial cover against flame attack.

20 mm and larger guns need to spot and acquire a target to be able to fire at it. The acquisition table is also used to judge sentry alertness, ambush set-up and detection.

Fire combat is determined on a squad basis, machine guns and vehicles fire individually. All fire is directed at individual vehicles or enemy squads. Multiple hits are distributed randomly among members of a squad, and any figure wounded twice is eliminated.

Casualties need to be cared for by another member of the squad or a medic attached to the unit. Untreated casualties reduce unit morale.

13 vehicle hit results apply: Stun, ½ move, pivot only, immobile, turret hand traverse, turret jam, main gun, driver, co-driver, loader/radio, gunner, commander, cargo hit and vehicle destroyed.

Incendiary attacks against infantry, heavy weapons, vehicles and buildings are covered. Troops inside burning vehicles and buildings must pass aggressiveness checks to remain inside and they risk elimination if fuel or ammunition catches fire.

Infantry may assault tanks, pill boxes, casemates and enemy infantry.

Units check morale if they failed an aggressiveness check at any time during the turn, if they are in an adverse morale state, if a friendly unit is seen withdrawing and if a friendly unit/vehicle was completely eliminated within 100 yards radius. In addition to the typical modifiers, untreated casualties, vehicle damage, fire and knocked out enemy vehicles effect morale. Six morale states are used: OK, pass, fail, subdued, withdrawing and panicked. Units with adversely effected morale will remain in cover or withdraw to it if possible.

Engineering Point Cost (EPC) is given for any pre-game engineering one or both sides may have accomplished, like digging foxholes, weapon pits, gun/vehicle pits, slit trenches, camouflage, pillboxes, bunkers, reinforced buildings, barbed wire sections, minefields, time fuse detonations and command detonations.

Combat engineering rules cover the use of satchel charges, line charges, pole charges, daisy chains, Bangalore Torpedoes, Teller mines, magetic mines, demolition grenades, Sticky Bombs and smoke grenades.

Leadership points will be expended to change the orders of units within the command radius of a squad leader or commander.

Close air support is available, using the standard attack methods of Luftwaffe or allied Air Force pilots.

Two pages are devoted to sentry observation, movement of guards, ambush set-up and ambush detection.

Prone infantry has a maximum visibility range of 120 yards. This is a difficult rule to generalize, simply because visibility depends on the slope of the ground surrounding the prone soldiers. Prone infantry on the crest or forward slope of a hill enjoy normal visibility when observing down the hill, prone soldiers behind the crest cannot see across it at all. One serious problem associated with this limited visibility rule is that LMG crews would have their effective range cut to 120 yards whenever they adopt a firing position. In game terms, this may lead to belt-fed light machine guns being fired from the hip much more frequently than is historically accurate.

Amphibious vehicles like the LVT Buffalo and Weasel are not covered in the rules.

Indirect heavy machine gun fire is not covered. This type of fire was very important in prepared defences, where pre-registered machine guns could dominate the beaten zone with devastating indirect fire.

Low resolution computer generated szenario maps are functional, but sketches would have looked more attractive and in period.

Substandard photo quality throughout the text. The problem should be corrected when the rules are re-printed.

Historical Employment

  • Squad level combat, 1939-1945

Alternate Employment

  • Japanese Invasion of China, 1937-1939
  • Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939
  • Israeli War of Independence, 1948
  • Korean War, 1950-1953

Soldat skirmish rules cover the important aspects of squad level combat in the Second World War, including the use of vehicles, combat engineering, artillery and air support. Many of the game mechanisms are applicable for later periods of simulation gaming as well, particularly the minor conflicts fought in many parts of the developing world where equipment from World War 2 remained in use decades after the end of that conflict.

Opponent Finder

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The rules are well written and properly laid out, the instructions will be easy to read and follow. Soldat rules are a valuable source of information, featuring background material and detailed gaming instruction for many important weapons used at the squad, platoon and company level. Soldat special rules for casualty treatment, ambush detection, sentry alertness, detonation authorization, fires, snipers, camouflage clothing and netting are a must-have for anyone interested in this level of simulation gaming.

Frequently Asked Questions

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