The Infantry Target Type and Critical Hits
By James Bishop and Chris Doary
When firing ordnance, newer players tend to count all of the Dice Roll Modifiers (DRM) and include them in the To Hit Number (TH#). For instance, a Gun fires at an Infantry unit in an adjacent stone building Location. Some players see a Basic TH# of 8 with a +3 DRM for the stone building Terrain Effects Modifier (TEM) and -2 DRM for Point Blank Range, and conclude that they need a 7 to hit. While this may get the Dice Roll (DR) you need to hit the target, this line of reasoning can rob you of a Critical Hit (CH). With this in mind, this article will examine how to calculate a CH when using the Infantry Target Type (ITT). Let’s get stuck in.1
Basic To Hit Number
The first thing we need to do is distinguish between the Basic TH# and the Modified TH#. Granted it’s possible for these numbers to be the same value when, for example, no Gun or Ammo Modifiers apply, or the only modifier is 0. However, it’s the Modified TH# that is used to calculate a CH—more on this shortly.
Determining the Basic TH# is relatively straightforward. Once we select the Target Type, we move right along this row until we arrive at the range bracket that corresponds with the range from Gun to target. Each range bracket on the ITT has a black and a red number. Each is the Basic TH# for that range bracket. The number that applies depends on a number of things. For instance, if the date is 1942, American ordnance uses red TH#, as shown in the C3 To Hit Table example below.
|C3 and C4 To Hit Tables|
Modified To Hit Number
The Modified TH# is the sum of the Basic TH# and any applicable Gun or Ammo modifiers found in the C4 Table. As with the C3 Table, determining which modifiers apply is a matter of cross-referencing a Gun’s barrel length and calibre with the relevant range column. (Because we cannot use the ITT to fire SMOKE, we can ignore this row. Similarly, APDS and APCR can only be fired at vehicles on the Vehicle Target Type, which allows us to ignore this row too.) Let’s do the math using the example on the previous slide. Before we do, keep in mind that Gun and Ammo modifiers are not DRM. They modify the Basic TH#, not the DR.
You will recall that, in our example, it is 1942 and the M3A1 37mm Anti-Tank (AT) Gun therefore uses red TH#. The range to the target is 14 hexes. On the C3 Table we determine that the Gun’s Basic TH# is 5 on the ITT. At this range, the extra-long (LL) barrel increases the accuracy of the Gun, bumping its TH# up to 6. However, the Gun pays a heavy price at this range due to its small calibre. It suffers a -1 loss in accuracy for being under the 57mm threshold, and an additional -1 loss for being smaller than 40mm. You read that right. The Gun-calibre modifiers are cumulative. The net result of all applicable modifiers is a Modified TH# of 4.
Final To Hit Number
Before we can assess whether a Gun has achieved a CH, we need to determine the value of a second variable called the Final TH DR. We arrive at this value by adding all applicable DRM to the sum of the dice rolled—the Original TH DR in ASL-speak.
Building on our 37mm AT Gun example, we find in the slide below that the target is a Vichy squad that has entered hex 86J6 using normal movement. Orchard TEM is +0. Nothing to write home about. But at least it’s not Open Ground. So the -1 DRM for First Fire Movement in Open Ground (FFMO) does not apply, although the -1 DRM for First Fire Non-Assault Movement (FFNAM) does. However our hapless Frenchmen have stumbled into the Gun’s Bore Sighted Location, which subjects them to an additional -2 DRM. The net DRM now stands at -3!
A Modified TH# of 4 is beginning to look respectable at this point given that the Gun will hit on an Original DR of 7 or less. Even better when the American player rolls 4 (3,1)! Adding the negative TH DRM to the Original TH DR we arrive at a Final TH DR of 1. It’s definitely a hit. But given that Final TH DR less than 2, the holy grail of ASL DR, surely it must be a CH. Only it doesn’t work that way.
|North Africa 1942|
According to C3.7, a CH is a hit so well placed that it significantly increases the prospect of harming the target. Not surprisingly new and veteran players alike get excited whenever they roll double ones on a TH DR. Barring an Improbable Hit—we’ll get to that in due course—rolling “snake-eyes” on the Area or Vehicle Target Type automatically results in a CH.
However, on the ITT an Original TH DR of 2 doesn’t guarantee a CH, although it frequently results in one. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Truth is, there’s more scope for landing a CH on the ITT than on the other Target Types. And this has to do with the unique way in which a CH is calculated when using the ITT.
In order to achieve a CH on the ITT, the Final TH DR must be less than half of the Modified TH#. Returning to our example in North Africa, the American Gun has scored a CH because its Final TH DR of 1 is less than half of the Gun’s Modified TH# of 4, as shown below. Had the Vichy soldats been more careful and declared Assault Movement, the Final TH DR would have been 2. While still a hit, it would not be a CH, because 2 is not less than half of 4.
|The Vichy squad is doomed!|
The immediate takeaway is that, unlike Area and Vehicle Target Types, the Original TH DR is not the main determinant in assessing whether a CH has been achieved on the ITT. Rather it is the Final TH DR in relation to the Modified TH# that most often matters. This is borne out by the way that an Original TH DR of 2 is treated on the ITT. Only if the Final TH DR is less than the Modified TH# will an Original TH DR of 2 result in an immediate CH.
In the slide below, the American Gun has targeted a Japanese crew in 62P8. The 2-2-8 is in a palm tree Location that has been acquired by the Gun. With only a +1 hindrance for the palm trees in Q8, the net TH DRM is -1. The Original TH DR is 2, but it doesn’t guarantee a CH. However, because the Final TH DR of 1 is less than 2.5, or half of the Modified TH# of 5, the outcome is a CH. Note that C3.7 does not round fractions up or down. Half of the Modified TH# is just that, half.
|Daily Double - Doubling down on Double Ones|
Even in situations where the Final TH DR is not less than half of the Modified TH#, “double ones” may result in a CH. Provided the Final TH DR is sufficient to hit a target on the ITT, a subsequent die roll (dr) is made to determine if the hit is Critical. A subsequent dr of 1 results in a CH. But so will a subsequent dr that is less than or equal to half of the Modified TH#. Have a look at the 3-4-7 in P8 in the “Daily Double” slide. Due to the palm hindrances and jungle TEM, an Original TH DR of 2 results in a Final TH DR of 5. This is equivalent to the Modified TH#, and is therefore a hit. However, it’s possible for the hit to be critical on a subsequent dr. Given that the Modified TH# is 5, a subsequent dr of 2 or less will do the trick, as these dr would be less than or equal to 2.5.
There’s one last way that an Original TH DR of 2 can result in a CH on the ITT. However, in this case, the Modified TH# doesn’t play a role. Due to the TH DRM and the Modified TH#, it is impossible for the Gun crew to roll low enough to hit the 4-4-8 in the “Daily Double” slide. Even “snake-eyes” will result in a Final TH DR greater than the Modified TH# shown. However, regardless of which Target Type is used, an Original TH DR of 2 nevertheless entitles the firer to an Improbable Hit (C3.6). In such cases, a firer obtains a hit with a subsequent dr of 1, 2 or 3, with 1 being a CH. Anything greater is deemed a miss.
In summary, there are three ways to achieve a CH on the ITT. The first way to score a CH involves having a Final TH DR that is less than half the Modified TH#. The second is an Original 2 TH DR that hits the target followed by a dr of 1, or a dr less than or equal to half the Modified TH#. The third is an Improbable Hit, an Original 2 TH DR that results in a Final TH DR that is greater than the Modified TH#, and therefore requires a subsequent dr of 1 for the hit to be critical.
Let’s look at a few more examples that will help drive home the importance of the Modified TH# in determing a CH on the ITT.
|Modifying your behaviour|
This article has focussed on how to achieve a CH on the ITT, in part because of the unique way a CH is determined on the ITT, but primarily because so many players miscalculate and therefore miss out on a CH. As for how to resolve a CH, we recommend that you reacquaint yourself with C3.71. That said, we will leave you with a couple of pointers. First, if a target Location contains multiple eligible targets, Random Selection is used to determine which target suffers the CH (C3.74). And second, if a Gun and its manning crew are hit by a CH, they are eliminated regardless of the effects DR (C11.4).
Calling out the Modified To Hit Number in conjunction with the net To Hit Dice Roll Modifiers helps with calculating a Critical Hit correctly. Remember that the Final TH DR must be less than half of the Modified TH# to land a CH, and that any fractions that may result from this halving are retained as is; they are not rounded up or down. Finally it’s worth repeating that an Original 2 TH DR, in and of itself, isn’t enough to result in a CH on the Infantry Target Type. Furthermore, the lack of an automatic “snake-eyes” CH on the ITT is offset by the ability to land a “crit” without the need to roll an Original 2 TH DR.
We hope that you found our explanations useful. If you have corrections to offer, please don’t hesitate to let us know. An earlier version of this article (by Jim Bishop) was published in the September 2021 issue of Banzai (Vol. 26, No. 1).
1. Ed. To “get stuck in (or into)” is an informal British expression similar to the imperative “let’s go!” It means to start something at once with vigour or determination. As with earlier Bishop Pointers, I’ve edited and expanded upon the original. Any errors that may have crept in are mine.