01 December 2022

RR-1 Conditional Clause and Effect

Earlier this year I played the late Bill Sisler’s G33 “The Awakening of Spring” for the first time. Published in 1996, in the midst of my university studies, I wasn’t aware of the scenario’s existence for at least a decade. Like another heavy-metal slugfest, Gary Fortenberry’s AP62 “Shouting Into the Storm,” G33 features that rare Soviet beast, the imposing 100mm PTB obr. 44 (Russian Ordnance Note 10). In neither scenario did the D-10 (or BS-3), as it is also called, do much for my cause. Most of that is on me.

Part of the problem is deciding where to site this powerful weapon. Although it beggars belief, you can actually position this monstrosity inside a building! Despite weighing 4 US tons and having a Manhandling number (M#) of 4, the D-10 is inexplicably not a large target. And because ASL classifies it as an anti-tank (AT) Gun (C2.22), the D-10 meets the requirements of C2.7, allowing it to set up at ground level in a building. Contrast this with the smaller 85mm obr. 44 (Russian Ordnance Note 17), which is classified as an artillery (ART) Gun and is therefore prohibited from setting up in a building, unless Fortified (B23.9).fn1 More on Fortified Buildings later.  

Placing my 100mm tank-buster in a (stone) building seems like a no-brainer. Aside from the beneficial Terrain Effects Modifier (TEM)—equivalent to or better than Emplacement TEM (C11.2), buildings tend to discourage Overruns (OVR) due to the risks of Bog (D8.2) and falling into a cellar (B23.41). The latter would be an ignominious end for a Tiger, royal or not. To be fair, woods discourage OVR too. So why bother with brush, grain or orchard, for example? Granted my Gun can set up hidden and Emplaced in these types of Concealment Terrain, but it seems awfully vulnerable to OVR. While certainly true, there is another consideration that be even more important: the ability to fire and hit an enemy vehicle before it can ruin my day.

100mm PTB obr. 44

Having agonized over where to place my ginormous can opener, my cunning opponent will typically approach from outside the weapon’s Covered Arc (CA). This sly move has the effect of penalizing any shot I might take due to the application of the Case A To Hit Dice Roll Modifier (DRM) of +3 for changing CA (C5.1). If I was “clever” enough to set up in a building, rubble, or woods, the Case A DRM would be doubled (C5.11). It gets worse.

When a (non-vehicular) non-turreted (NT) Gun changes its CA to fire, any multiple Rate of Fire (ROF) capability it may have is lowered by one for its next shot (C2.29). There are exceptions to this Conditional ROF rule; we’ll deal with them shortly. In practical terms, this amounts to my big Gun having no ROF because its printed ROF is 1. In other words, should I miss with the first shot—the most likely outcome—any second shot would be as Intensive Fire (C5.6). On the plus side, Case A may no longer apply, while target Acquisition (C6.51) would. But the risk of malfunction (C5.62) just tripled!

It gets decidedly dire if your Gun has no ROF to lower. Consider the mighty 15cm sIG33 infantry (INF) Gun below. Should it change CA to fire, it is thereafter marked with an Intensive Fire counter, even if it did not use Intensive Fire for that shot. The counter serves to remind players that the Gun may not use Intensive Fire for the remainder of that player turn. The lone exception is OVR Prevention (C5.64). 

150mm sIG 33

One takeaway is that if your Gun has virtually no prospect of a second shot after changing CA, it may be better to avoid setting it up in a building, rubble or woods where your one and only shot could be subject to the doubling of Case A. But what about a Gun with a ROF of 2 or more? Is there any advantage to be gained from setting up in anti-OVR terrain? There could be.

An AT Gun, such as the 37mm M3A1 below, has a one-in-six chance of maintaining ROF if it changes CA to fire. The German PaK 35/36, on which the American gun was based, has one chance in three. In both cases, however, this lowered ROF is temporary. Should either Gun maintain ROF, its printed ROF would apply to any subsequent shots. For example, if the M3A1 were to maintain ROF after changing CA to fire, by rolling a 1 on the colored die roll (dr), its ROF for any follow-up shot would be 2. Unless the Gun changed CA for this shot too, in which case, Conditional ROF would apply again.

37mm M3A1

It is a trade off. In return for better protective terrain, the M3A1 has lower odds of maintaining ROF on the shot taken immediately after changing CA. But unlike a Gun with a ROF of 1, or no ROF at all, at least there is a chance that it will maintain ROF. Moreover, should the M3A1 maintain ROF, its normal ROF is restored for any subsequent shots. You can try your hand at this in Bill Sisler’s AP115 “Bats Outta Hell.”

There is another, seldom used option that favours setting a Gun up in +3 TEM or better—a stone Fortified Building Location comes to mind. Assuming that your Gun is allowed to set up in a building—note that all Guns are permitted to set up in the ground level of a Fortified Building (B23.93)—you may want to change CA and defer firing to a later phase. Before you get too excited, the option of changing CA without firing at the end of a friendly fire phase excludes the Movement Phase (MPh). Rule C3.22, however, does allow a Gun to change CA in its Prep Fire Phase (PFPh), for example, and fire in the Advancing Fire Phase (AFPh) without any Case A DRM applying due to the CA change in the PFPh. Equally important is that Conditional ROF is not applicable (NA) either. A careful reading of C2.5 reveals that ROF is only lowered if the shot takes place in the same, or current, phase as the CA change does.

76mm LK/13

The tactic works best when your Gun and crew are in terrain that allows them to weather a Defensive-Fire storm. Due to its small target size, the Finnish artillery piece above may set up in a building. It could even set up in a fortified upper building level! Like the M3A1 AT Gun, the LK/13 ART Gun retains the possibility of maintaining ROF if it changes CA and fires in the same phase. But in the latter case, the Finnish player is left with a more difficult choice should the Gun fail to maintain ROF after changing CA. To Intensive Fire or not to Intensive Fire? Because the printed Breakdown Number (B#) of an LK/13 is 11, Intensive Fire becomes a greater gamble when this B# is lowered by two (A.11). Fire at your own risk!

Alternatively, the LK/13 could change CA at the end of the PFPh, DFPh, or AFPh provided it remains capable of firing without having to resort to Intensive Fire (C3.22). Clearly, this precludes any further fire in the phase in which the CA is changed. So unless you are trying to set up a better shot for next turn, changing CA in the PFPh is the only practical way to have your unconditional cake and eat it. Bear in mind that the Gun would be subject to the Case B +2 DRM (+3 if in building/rubble/woods per C5.2) for fire in the AFPh. Case A usually would not, because as C5.12 tells us, “the Case A DRM is applicable only to a Gun which made a CA change as part of its shot.” Negating the Case A To Hit DRM can be a big deal when your badass Gun is inside a building, rubble, or woods.fn2

Less clear is the last sentence of C3.22: "Such a change in the PFPh cancels any movement possibilities for that Gun (even a vehicular Gun) and its crew for the rest of that Player Turn, but does not prevent that Gun from attacking in the AFPh—presumably without any Case A DRM." This suggests that the LK/13 is not prohibited from firing in the PFPh. Provided the Gun maintains ROF, the crew could opt to change CA at the end of the PFPh. This slick move would give the Gun a single shot in the AFPh. Again Case B would apply, but Case A would not (unless the Gun changed CA in the AFPh). I'm not convinced that this is permissible. It contradicts the basic premise of A3.5, which tells us that units that did not fire in the PFPh, may fire in the AFPh (see also, A7.1). (Although D3.22 allows for the possibility that a vehicle with a Multiple ROF weapon may fire in both its MPh and its AFPh, this exceptional form of Advancing Fire does not violate A3.5.)

Now let me turn to the exceptions, examples where Conditional ROF will not apply but where Case A may. Take for instance support weapons (SW) such as anti-tank rifles (ATR), SW infantry guns (INF), and SW recoilless rifles (RCL) that use the To Hit process. Unlike a Gun, which is depicted on a ⅝” counter and always has a defined CA (C3.2), a (non-inherent) SW is depicted on a ½” counter (C2.1) and normally has an unrestricted field of fire. Nevertheless, in certain situations that are similar to Guns, a 20L ATR, a SW INF, or a SW RCL can have a “fixed CA.” A restricted CA applies to these weapons should they fire from a building, rubble, or woods Location. These SW differ from their bigger brethren in that any fixed CA is temporary, limited to the duration of the fire phase in which they fired (A9.21). Moreover, neither Conditional ROF nor the Case A To Hit DRM ever apply to these or any other SW for that matter.

20mm Solothurn s18-1100
37mm Canon de 37 mle 16 TR
57mm M18 Recoilless Rifle

A light mortar (MTR) likewise has no CA. Light mortars are those mortars with a calibre of 60mm or less. Depicted on ½” counters, they are never subject to a fixed CA or to Case A when they fire, regardless of the terrain that they occupy. (Granted mortars usually cannot fire at all if they are inside a building.) 

50mm Lance-Grenades de mle 37

Medium mortars, those typically with a calibre between 76mm and 82mm, are a different animal. On the one hand, they are treated as other Guns with regard to the application of Case A. On the other hand, they are exempt from Conditional ROF. That bears restating given that these weapons tend to have a ROF of 3. Remind yourself of that the next time you attempt to outflank a medium mortar, even one in restrictive terrain.  

81mm Savunheitin M/42

Conditional ROF therefore does not apply to SW or to medium mortars. This condition nonetheless applies to every other Gun that is not turreted. That leaves turreted Guns. 

Anti-aircraft (AA) Guns immediately spring to mind. In order to target overflying aircraft almost all AA guns had a 360° mount. This capability is indicated in ASL by a large white circle around a Gun’s artwork (C2.3). In game terms, this means that a turreted Gun is treated the same as a vehicular Gun with Fast Turret Traverse (D1.31), known as a “T” Type weapon. This form of mount is advantageous for two reasons: Conditional ROF is NA and the Case A DRM for changing CA is +1. Case A is still doubled if the Gun is in a building, rubble, or woods. I think you will agree that a +2 DRM is so much better than a +6 DRM. 

Before they can be moved, some Guns need to be limbered, converted from their primary firing state into something more compact or suitable for transit. A select group of these weapons platforms are allowed to use Limbered Fire (LF), provided they are not currently hooked up to a towing vehicle (C10.24). Due to their AA role, some models not only retain their ability to fire when limbered, as shown by the presence of a Gun Calibre Size on their limbered side, but also their turreted status. Consequently, they remain exempt from Conditional ROF even when using LF, as is the case with most Bofors AA Guns.

75mm Bofors M29

The last sentence of C2.3 is easily overlooked. It tells us that “T types are further classified into various sub-groups (D1.3).” The only other sub-group that matters to us though is the Slow Turret Traverse (ST) category (D1.32), symbolized by a large, thin white square bordering the Gun’s silhouette. Admittedly, there are not many examples in the standard ASL counter mix. For instance, the Slovak 83.5mm Kanon PL vz. 22/24 below is unusual for an AA Gun in having Slow Traverse. Pity there are no scenarios where you can put this knowledge to use. You will have a little more luck with the Belgian 75mm FRC M27. Another slow-traverse AA Gun, it is featured in FrF86 “Belgian Tigers” from Friendly Fire Pack 11 [2017] (available in our KitShop).

83.5mm Kanon PL vz. 22/24 and 75mm FRC M27

The AT version of the soixante-quinze, the famed French 75, is remarkable for having an “after-market” 360° firing table, albeit one with slow traverse. Not so the British 2-Pounder, which was designed to have a 360° field of fire and a fast traverse. Careful with these AT Guns, however. The reverse side of these counters reveals a limbered state that permits firing while limbered, but only as NT Guns. Translation: any Limbered Fire by these Guns is subject to Conditional ROF. The golden oldie “Khamsin” provides a target-rich environment for the 2-Pounder. The more recent J186 “Castles on the Horizon” is a similarly inviting firing range for this “pop gun.”

40mm OQF 2-Pounder
75mm Canon de 75 Antichar mle 97/35

It is understandable why an AT gun, especially a small calibre one, might be designed for 360° fire. It is less obvious why an artillery piece, usually one sited far behind the front lines, would benefit from the extra weight of a firing table. Perhaps the most common example is the British 25-Pounder. Due to the lack of effective AT assets following the fall of France, the 25-Pounder was pressed into service as an expedient AT gun, especially in North Africa. The firing table allowed the gun to track and engage moving enemy vehicles more effectively. Scenario 58 “Ci Arrendiamo” is a good demonstration of this tactical imperative. The 25-Pounder also plays a starring role in AP150 “Norwegian Edelweiss” together with some helpful Swedish Volunteers. A lesser known scenario, OA5 “Rear Area Defenders,” pits another pair of 25-Pounders against enemy tanks and halftracks in May 1940. If you set these guns up well to begin with, there should be no need to ever move and therefore limber them. And as long as they remain unlimbered, Conditional ROF will not apply to your dual-purpose artillery.

88mm OQF 25-Pounder

A more fascinating artillery design is the Skoda 8cm Kanon vz. 28, or Model 1928. Manufactured in Czechoslovakia and based on an earlier mountain gun, it was intended to be an artillery version of the Swiss army knife. Not only would the M28 function as a mountain gun, a field gun, and a stop-gap AT gun, it was also intended to serve as an AA gun. It was short lived. Czechoslovakia’s army purchased a limited number of the vz 28,  but it was soon superseded by the improved vz 30, which lacked the earlier design’s firing table for AA fire. With the demise of Czechoslovakia in March 1939, these guns fell into German hands. In Wehrmacht service, the vz 30 were given the designation 8cm FK 30(t), reinforcing the mistaken idea that these guns used 80mm ammunition. (As far as I know, this size of artillery round has not been used since the 19th century.) The 8cm gun actually fired a 7.65cm round. Germany redistributed a number of the 8cm Kanon vz 28 to her allies, the newly constituted, quasi-independent states of Croatia and Slovakia. In ASL, the 8cm vz 28 is treated as an 80mm artillery piece referred to as the Skoda M28(80). “Retrained and Rearmed” from ASL Action Pack 5 has two of these in the Slovak order of battle (OB).

During the 1930s, Skoda exported a number of vz 28 to Yugoslavia. One source I found claimed that the Yugoslav army took delivery of 136 75mm vz 28 mountain guns, and 300 8cm vz 30 field guns. The former appears to be the closest fit for what ASL calls the 80mm M28/M33 (Yugoslavian Ordnance Note 21). Apart from the lack of a firing table, these guns also differ from the Axis Minor M28(80) in having limited Smoke capability. It is revealing that when the Germans captured the longer-barrelled 8cm vz 30 field guns in Yugoslavia, they redesignated them as 7.65cm FK 304(j). (See the slide below for more background on the Skoda M28.) The True calibre aside, the main difference for our discussion is that, of the various Skoda M28 in ASL, only the Skoda M28(80) is exempt from the restrictions of Conditional ROF.

80mm Skoda M28

There are some other not-so rare rarities worth taking a look at such as German recoilless rifles, and the 7.5cm Leichtgeschütz 40 in particular. With a ROF of “1,” it may not occur to some players to check for ROF given that Conditional ROF would normally reduce a Gun’s ROF to 0. I may have been guilty of this when playing FrF58 “Order 831” (from Friendly Fire Pack 7) on one or more occasions. The good news, from a practice perspective, is that there are almost two dozen scenarios where you can have a (back)blast with a 7.5cm LG 40. Among them are a couple of Primosole Bridge scenarios, including J96 "Another Bloody Attack."

75mm Leichtgeschütz 40

The most unusual exception to the Conditional ROF rule is the Mortier de 7.6cm Allemand, or M76A for short. At the end of the Great War, the Belgians captured so many of these Minenwerfer—including heaps of ammunition for this bomb thrower—that two decades later they still had a surplus. The M76A is not notable for being exempt from C2.5 due to it being a medium mortar. Rather it is notable for being subject to these restrictions when limbered. This stems from the fact that the weapon was capable of Direct Fire: fire that requires a Line of Sight (LOS) from firer to the target (and that does not use Indirect Fire). However, Direct Fire is only permitted when the weapon is limbered. Indirect Fire (C.1), meanwhile, is only allowed when the weapon is unlimbered. The Gun classification on the counter changes to reflect this. On the unlimbered side it is a mortar (MTR); on the limbered side it is an infantry gun (INF). 

76mm M76A

East Side Gamers published a scenario in 2005 that has a M76A in the Belgian OB. A Scenario Special Rule (SSR) in ESG4 “The Clog” allows the weapon to set up limbered at start. Doing so permits Direct Fire, but also invokes Conditional ROF. Fire at will!

Parting shot

Bill Sisler died last year. I do not claim to have known him. What little I did know of him, I gleaned from our brief interaction when Mark Nixon introduced him to me at an ASL Oktoberfest. Bill was an unassuming ambassador of the game. He struck me as inquisitive, genuine, and welcoming. He was also a prolific scenario designer, with more than 50 to his credit. And so I would like to close with an example from another scenario that Bill Sisler built, one that I have yet to play.

WO19 Japanese OB

Released in 2016, WO19 “Through the Dragon’s Teeth” pits US Marine Raiders against a small force of Japanese naval infantry backstopped by a pair of daunting 5.5-inch coastal guns. What the card does not tell you is that the Year-3 Type 14cm Naval Seacoast Gun (no less of a mouthful in Japanese, I expect) is turreted. Normally a Gun without a printed ROF would be marked with an IF counter, if it changed CA and fired in the same phase. However, because it is turreted, the provisions of Conditional ROF do not apply to the 140L ART. Therefore, assuming it does not malfunction on its initial shot, the Gun could use IF even if it had changed CA for its first shot. Pity the jarheads who think that they get up close and personal with this artillery piece without paying Bill’s butcher. Just one more reason to consult the relevant Chapter H notes before play, especially the notes specific to your opponent’s OB. 

I cannot say when I will post again. I have been busy of late designing rather than playing scenarios. I would love to be able to come up with something as enduring as Bill Sisler’s “Le Hérisson,” of Croix de Guerre fame. Not likely. But one has to start somewhere. In the meantime, I leave you with a Coles Notes of Conditional ROF. Roll rate!

C2.5 Conditional ROF - Pawn Shop Talk


1. An argument could be made that, like the 85mm obr. 44 (Russian Ordnance Note 17), the 100mm obr. 44 should be classified as an artillery (ART) Gun. Tellingly, the smaller calibre piece is a Quick Set-Up (QSU) Gun (C10.23), while the D-10 must be limbered before it can be pushed, towed, or hooked up (C10.2).

2. Opportunity Fire is an alternative. On the plus side, it allows for the possibility of Multiple ROF and Intensive Fire during the AFPh. The down side is that the Case A DRM and Conditional ROF would apply, because the Gun “cannot change its CA until actually resolving its To Hit attempt during the AFPh” (A7.25).

Special thanks to Juan, Ken, Thierry, and Tom.

30 April 2022

BP-5 Bounding First Fire Mechanics

The Mechanics of Bounding First Fire

By James Bishop and Chris Doary

This article is born out of a recent game. During the match, Jim’s opponent fired the anti-aircraft machinegun (AAMG) on his M36 GMC tank destroyer (TD) before moving to another hex. Upon reaching the new hex, he declared a shot with the TD’s main armament (MA). Only he couldn’t do this. Or more to the point, the rules prohibit it. What followed was a lengthy “rules dive” that reviewed the pertinent sections of Chapter D. The goal was to deepen his knowledge so that he could make the most of vehicular fire in the future. Jim took notes during the conversation, as he thought that the discussion was a good subject for a blog post. Without further ado, let’s dive in.1

A Brief History of ASL Time 

One unique aspect of ASL is that it allows both players to participate in almost very phase, regardless of whose turn it is. Nowhere is this reciprocal activity more apparent than during the Movement Phase (MPh). During the busiest of phases, the non-moving player may pause play to intervene in the actions of a Moving unit, a unit that’s conducting ITS MPh.2 Although the pause may be limited to “stripping” the concealment of a Moving unit, an intervention usually takes the form of a Defensive First Fire (D1F) attack. When and how many times a unit may fire on a Moving unit is nevertheless strictly circumscribed. These limits reflect the transitory nature of a unit’s movement and the brief period of time in which a defending unit has to react to such movements. 

Vehicles, especially Armored Fighting Vehicles (AFV) and their Passengers or Riders, are exceptional in their ability to fire during THEIR MPh. Not surprisingly, vehicles labour under even more restrictive rules of engagement when Moving. Understanding what these restrictions entail is crucial to getting the most value out of these important assets.

The substance of these restrictions can be found in the following rule sections: D3.3, D3.31, D3.32, D3.5, and D3.51. Let’s look at each in turn.3

D3.3 Bounding First Fire

In another recent game, Jim’s opponent wanted to shoot in the MPh. He announced his Infantry Target Type (ITT) shot as an “8 +2 To Hit (TH).” Jim asked him why +2 and not +4? He responded that only the +2  Dice Roll Modifier (DRM) for Case B applied, because he had not moved to a new hex. Jim pointed out that Case B specifically applies to a firer in the Advancing Fire Phase (AFPh), not the MPh. [Ed. I’ve added the slide below to demonstrate Case B in action.]

Click to enlarge

A vehicle that fires during ITS MPh, even one that fires before entering a new hex, is a very different beast. Jim therefore directed his opponent to D3.3. The first sentence tells us that the ASL term for a unit that fires during ITS MPh is using Bounding First Fire, or B1F for short. They continued their discussion with an examination of the C5 Table, which lists Firer-Based To Hit DRM, part of which can be seen in the truncated table below. Jim explained that it was Cases C through C2 that apply to a Bounding First Firer. [Ed. I’ve included Case B for contrast.]

C5 Firer-Based To-Hit DRM

The first thing we should get out of the way is the term Bounding Firer, which applies to a unit that performed one or more actions during the MPh and remains eligible to fire in the AFPh as Bounding Fire.4 What we’re concerned with here, however, is Bounding First Fire, fire undertaken by a vehicle and its Passengers or Riders during THEIR MPh. What Jim’s opponent was attempting to do when he declared an “8 +2 TH” shot is permitted. However, as C5.33 makes clear, Case C does apply in this situation. 

Part of the confusion may lie with the fact that Case C is labelled “Bounding Firer” on the C5 Table. [Ed. I added the word “first” in grey font to the C5 Table.] It’s true that the first part of C5.3 deals with vehicles that have entered a new hex (or hexside) during the MPh and that are using Bounding Fire in the AFPh. But the rule goes on to inform us that Case C also applies to a Bounding First Firer. Case C is essentially an additional penalty for entering a new hex (or hexside) in that Player Turn. As such it can apply during the MPh or the AFPh. Let’s take a closer look at the situation that led to our discussion of B1F, as illustrated in the next slide.

Subcases C1 and C2 simply modify Case C. These penalties are tied to the time—represented in MP expended—that a vehicle has spent in Line of Sight (LOS) of a target. Case C3 is an odd duck given that it’s about firing Light Anti-Tank Weapons (LATW) in the AFPh. In fact, “Case C3 is never applicable to Case C or any of its other subcases” (C5.34). So we’ll skip it. 

That leaves us with Case C4 only the latter part of which is applicable to B1F. To explain Case C4, it’ll help if we revisit the previous slide. Imagine that the KV-1S had started before it declared its shot. Although it would have yet to enter a new hex, it now falls under Case C4 because the vehicle is considered to be a Non-Stopped Firer. The tank does not have a Stabilized Gun so it falls under “Other.” The DRM for Case C remain unchanged at +4. What has changed is that the tank must now double the lower dr of its TH DR. Doubling the lower dr in our example increases the Final TH DR to 9, resulting in a miss.

D3.31 MG, Canister, and FT Fire

The key takeaway from this rule section is that should a vehicle fire any weapon other than its MA during the MPh, it may not fire its other weapons during the AFPh. For instance, if a tank fires its Bow MG (BMG) during the MPh, it may not fire its Coaxial MG (CMG) or its MA in the AFPh. Any Passengers or Riders aboard the vehicle are likewise restricted. All this hints at the central role an MA plays in determining what fire options a vehicle retains in the AFPh, which brings us to the next rule section.5

D3.32 Final Fire

Another concept to get your head around is what may be characterized as a sort of Bounding “Final” Fire. Strictly speaking, there is no such animal. However D3.32 does allow a vehicle that maintains Rate of Fire (ROF) during the MPh to fire its ROF weapon one additional time during the AFPh as Bounding Fire—with all the attendant restrictions of such fire (C5.3). But there’s a trade off, a big one it turns out. In accordance with D3.31, neither the vehicle nor any Passengers or Riders aboard may fire any other weapons during the MPh. This includes Small Arms Fire, the inherent Firepower (FP) of a Personnel counter. 

So what’s the payoff? Or put another way, why wait until the AFPh to fire given that the Firer-Based TH DRM will not improve? Perhaps the most important rationale for holding fire until the AFPh is that a Gun cannot acquire a target during ITS MPh (C6.5). Waiting until the AFPh also allows a vehicle (and any Passengers or Riders) to fire from a hex other than the one the MA was initially fired from during the MPh. There’s another advantage to saving a “rate” shot for the AFPh, one that will become more apparent after we examine D3.51. But there’s much to discuss before we get there. 

D3.5 Vehicular MG or IFE Fire

This section is a treasure trove of information. For our purposes though we are primarily concerned with two restrictions it places on B1F. The first restriction limits a vehicle’s weapons to one attack per player turn. There are exceptions. One is an MA with a “with a specific Multiple ROF.” The KV-1S is an example of a vehicle with this capability (identifiable by having a number encased in a square on the counter); the T-70 tankette below is not. Therefore, provided a vehicle maintains ROF, it may fire its MA again that turn. We’ll return to this point again, albeit in more detail.  

Overruns (OVR) are the other exception. As long as a vehicle has enough Movement Points (MP) to conduct an OVR, it may conduct multiple OVR during the course of ITS MPh. All still functioning vehicle weapons, together with any still applicable Passenger or Rider FP, apply to each subsequent OVR FP calculation, which is resolved on the Infantry Fire Table (IFT). The slide below explains how this works in practice.

The second restriction concerns Mandatory Fire Groups (FG). In a nutshell, if a vehicle’s weapons—together with any Passengers or Riders—want to fire at the same target during the same phase they must form a FG, in keeping with A7.55. Granted they may attack separately with ordnance, a flamethrower (FT), a Demolition Charge (DC), or with subsequent shots by a multiple ROF MA. The most common example of a Mandatory FG is an AFV that combines its BMG and CMG FP into a single attack. Similarly, a vehicle that has a weapon with an Infantry Firepower Equivalent (IFE) must FG with its MG when firing at the same target. An IFE-capable MA may only make a separate attack if it attacks as ordnance or maintains ROF. 

Passengers and Riders are a little more complicated, as the “Vegemite Sandwich” slide  demonstrates. Depending upon their conveyance and its armaments, these hitchhikers may or may not be compelled to FG. Halftrack (ht) and Carrier Passengers, for example, must (if otherwise able to) FG with their vehicle’s non-ordnance weapons. Riders, in contrast, are not required to FG with a vehicle’s weapons (D6.64). The Australian example below highlights a rare case where Riders may FG. Be that as it may, a basic rule of thumb was put succinctly by Perry Cocke, the doyen of ASL rules. “If you can FG together, then you must. If you cannot FG together, then you can fire separately.” In other words, if the rules permit the formation of a FG then a FG is mandatory when the conditions of A7.55 arise.6   

D3.51 Maintaining CA

The title of this rule section is deceptive. Its final sentence is a zinger. Players ignore it at their peril. 

At the outset of this post, Jim related how his opponent had fired the AAMG of a TD before moving to another hex and attempting to fire the AFV’s MA. This is verboten. According to D3.51: “Once any vehicular weapon fires, its other weapons may fire in that phase only from that same hex” [Emphasis added]. The rules do allow for the MA to fire again from another hex, but only if the MA maintained ROF and its previous shot was B1F. 

Jim’s opponent may have salvaged the situation had he thought to fire the MA from the same hex as the AAMG before moving to another hex. Provided the MA retained ROF, the Gun could have fired from a new hex. I know what some of you are thinking. What if the Gun didn’t maintain ROF? Is Intensive Fire (IF) an option? Yes, and no. It might be an option. However, IF can only be used to fire from the same hex that the AAMG (and the MA) fired from. Several question-and-answers (Q&A) confirm this.8

To tie a bow on this, let’s assume that the TD had fired only its MA, maintained ROF, and moved to a new hex. Upon entering the new hex the TD could fire its MA again, but not its AAMG. Were the TD to “bank” its rate shot for the AFPh, it could fire its MA once in the AFPh and gain Acquisition as a result. However, the TD still couldn’t fire its AAMG. 

More Bounding First Fire

Click to enlarge any slide


One of the greatest strengths of vehicles is their ability to shoot and move. (Or move and shoot.) Clearly this is too complex a topic to cover every possible situation in one short post. However there ought to be enough here to form a solid foundation for conducting mobile warfare. It is our hope that the foregoing examples have conveyed many of the capabilities and limitations of AFV combat, and more important, how to execute B1F properly. Just keep in mind that this has been a discussion of the mechanics of B1F shots, not the tactics.

As always, we hope this article helps in some small way. If you have questions, corrections, or suggestions for another article, let us know in the comments below. 

Until next time. — jim (and chris)


1. Ed. I’ve once again embellished and expanded upon Jim’s original post on The Bishop Says blog. I take full responsibility for any errors in the Sitrep version. The original article is available for download as a pdf on Jim's site.

2. The Advance Sequence of Play (ASOP) uses all-caps to highlight a) which unit (or group of units) is currently phasing, and b) at what stage a unit (or group of units) is in ITS MPh. A phasing unit conducts ITS MPh in three stages: START, DURING, and END. Although a unit is considered to be Moving, in the sense that it’s the unit that is actively phasing, it may not actually be moving for the purposes of A8.1. With the exception of conducting a Search, any actions undertaken by a unit at the START or END of its MPh do not qualify as moving for the purposes of Defensive First Fire, despite the fact that the unit is Moving throughout ITS MPh. These concepts are examined in more depth in Stop and Go Traffic, published here on Sitrep, and also on The Bishop Says.

3. You may find it helpful to review an earlier work of Jim's: “Infantry Target Type and Critical Hits,” as it explains why he announces his shots the way he does. See also, the pimped-out version of this article on Sitrep.

4. The Index of the ASL Rule Book describes Bounding Fire as “fire by a vehicle in the AFPh after movement to a new hex [or the use of Vehicular Bypass Movement] during the MPh [that is] used in place of—rather than in addition to—[Advancing] Fire.”

5. This is borne out by the Q&A below:

D3.3 -.32 & D3.5 

A vehicle fires its MA (only) during the MPh and keeps ROF. During its AFPh it fires one additional shot with its MA (only). Is this the only possible way a vehicle (including its PRC) can fire during both the MPh and the AFPh?

A. Yes. [Compil3]

6. In his response to questions put to him in December 2020, Perry said to expect errata for A7.55 in the future.

7. Ed. I asked Perry Cocke about this. Here is his reply, dated 12 Nov. 2021:

A7.55, D3.5, D6.64

Q. According to D6.64, the AAMG of a CE tank may form a FG with its Riders. If the AAMG and Riders form a FG and fire at a target, may the BMG or CMG subsequently fire at the same target given that neither may FG with Riders? In other words, does a player in this situation have a choice as to which weapons or units may form a FG and fire first? And if so, does this permit a second, separate attack? If not, how does one determine which weapons or units take precedence and therefore are permitted to fire? 

A. The AAMG may FG with either the other MG or with the Riders. In either case, Mandatory FG applies.

8. Here are the relevant Q&A.

C5.6, D3.3, & D3.51

In its MPh, an AFV Fires its MA and loses rate. It also fires all of its MGs from the same Location in accordance with D3.51. May the AFV declare an Intensive Fire (IF) shot? If so, may that IF shot be used to fulfill the EXC in the last sentence of D3.51 and fire that IF shot in another hex or would the IF shot limited to the Location which it has already fired from?

A. Yes. Limited. (That is, you can IF in BFF but not from a different hex.)

C5.6, D3.3, & D3.51

In a Friendly Mph, can a vehicular MA fires using Bounding First Fire, loses its rate of fire, move to another hex and then Intensive Fire? [sic]

A. No.


If a vehicle fires its MG armament, but NOT its MA, as Bounding First Fire, does one consider the MA to “maintain ROF”, so that the vehicle may move to another hex to fire its MA? Or MUST one fire the MA from the same hex as the MG, just hoping the ROF is maintained, so that the vehicle may move further and fire its MA from another hex?

A. No. Yes

9. See previous note.

10. Not firing an MA doesn’t equate to maintaining ROF. See last entry in note 8 above.

02 March 2022

BP-4 Making Sense of Gun Duels

By James Bishop and Chris Doary

A rookie player suggested Jim take a stab at explaining Gun Duels. Said rookie had some remarkable misconceptions about the subject, not least that duels must necessarily involve Guns. This article intends to dispel such misconceptions, and elaborate on the topic with the help of illustrated examples. We will examine the rules for Gun Duels, when they may be made, and most important, how they’re resolved. 

Barrels and Bullets

Gun Duels are typically declared by the phasing player, the player whose turn is currently under way—the ATTACKER in ASL parlance. There’s a singular case where the DEFENDER (the non-phasing player) may declare a Gun Duel that we’ll deal with later. But for now it’s enough to say that all Gun Duels involve at least one Moving vehicle. A Moving vehicle, as explained in an earlier post, is a vehicle that’s currently conducting ITS Movement Phase (MPh).

Although typically a vehicle, the second duelist can be any unit that satisfies the requirements of C2.2401. Moreover, neither duelist need be packing a Gun. The Index of the ASL Rule Book (ASLRB) defines Guns in two ways. For firing purposes, a Gun is any weapon on a ⅝” counter that is currently firing as ordnance, that is, using the To Hit (TH) Table to score a hit first before resolving the effects with a second Dice Roll (DR) on the Infantry Fire Table (IFT) or the To Kill Table. For non-firing purposes, a Gun is any non-vehicular weapon on a ⅝” counter. For example, an Anti-Aircraft (AA) Gun such as a Flak 30 that uses its Infantry Firepower Equivalent (IFE) to attack directly on the IFT isn’t a Gun for firing purposes. 

Machine Gun (MG) and Small Arms Fire—the inherent FP of a Personnel counter, including any Inherent Support Weapons (SW) such as Anti-Tank Magnetic Mines (ATMM), Molotov Cocktails (MOL) and Panzerfaust (PF)—may also qualify for Gun Duel purposes. This will make more sense shortly.

Once a Gun Duel is declared in accordance with C2.2401, no third party may attack the Moving vehicle until the Gun Duel is resolved. Assuming that the loser of a Gun Duel survives the winner’s attack, a duel ends after resolving the return attack. Occasionally, duelists will fire simultaneously. In that case the duel ends after the effects of both attacks are resolved. But who triggers a Gun Duel in the first place?

ATTACKER-Declared Gun Duel

Whenever a DEFENDER declares a non-Reaction Fire (D7.2) Defensive First Fire (D1F) attack against a Moving vehicle, the ATTACKER may attempt to make a Bounding First Fire (B1F) attack (D3.3) first. The Moving vehicle does this by declaring a Gun Duel in an effort to beat the DEFENDER to the punch. Under normal circumstances the vehicle would have to await the outcome of D1F before it could respond with B1F. However, if the vehicle wins the Gun Duel, it can attack before (or at the same time as) the DEFENDER. Furthermore, the Moving vehicle needn’t attempt to attack with its Main Armament (MA). Any Secondary Armament (SA), MG, Passengers or Riders otherwise capable of making an attack could declare a B1F attack, and therefore, a Gun Duel. It should come as no surprise that there are a few caveats.

A vehicle conducting an Overrun may not declare a Gun Duel. Nor may a vehicle that needs to change its Vehicular- (VCA) or Turret Covered Arc (TCA) in order to bring its weapon(s) to bear on the enemy unit that declared the D1F attack. Lastly, a Moving vehicle may not declare a Gun Duel against a unit that was concealed at the time it declared a D1F attack.1

Math Lesson

Stop yer bellyaching and pay attention! In order to determine who attacks first, each duelist tallies up all Firer-Based (C5.) and Acquisition (C6.5) Dice-Roll Modifiers (DRM) applicable to its attack. These sums represent each duelist’s Gun Duel DRM totals. The duelist with the lower total attacks first. Should the first attack break, Stun, Shock, or eliminate the target, a return attack will not occur.

Again there are exceptions. Neither the +1 DRM for a Gyrostabilizer (D11.11) nor the doubling of the lower dr for a Motion or Non-Stopped firer in TH Case C4 (C5.35) apply to the Gun Duel DRM calculation.2

But wait, there’s more! Should the Gun Duel DRM totals tie, the duelist with the lower Final To Hit DR attacks first. The Final To Hit DR is the sum of the DR and all applicable Firer- and Target-Based DRM. As already noted, the outcome of the first attack may well void a return attack. In those exceedingly rare cases where the Final To Hit DR are the same, the attacks occur simultaneously.

Extracurricular Math

Those of you who can’t get enough of Gun Duels are in luck. Once the initial Gun Duel is resolved, the DEFENDER may announce another D1F attack against the Moving vehicle. And once again, the ATTACKER may, “if otherwise able and allowed to,” declare another Gun Duel. Such cases are uncommon, but when they do arise, the printed Rate of Fire (ROF) of one firing weapon per side may be used as a negative DRM in calculating a side’s Gun Duel DRM.3 

Special-Needs Math 

The Gun Duel DRM of a non-ordnance attack is determined as if it were ordnance. For instance, a pinned squad would have a Gun Duel DRM of +2 for Case D (C5.4), while an Encircled stack of four squads and a 9-2 leader would have a net Gun Duel DRM of +0 [+1 Encircled (A7.7), +1 Overstacked (A5.12), -2 leadership DRM]. However, A.5 would kick in if the pinned squad and the 9-2 stack had declared a multi-Location Fire Group (FG). In that case, the net Gun Duel DRM of the FG would be +4.4

There are a couple more considerations to be aware of with regard to a non-ordnance attack. The first is that TH Case A (C5.1) will apply to the Gun Duel DRM calculation if the D1F attack is made by Personnel and/or weapons mounted-on or aboard a vehicle that’s changing CA. The second is that “all such non-turret-mounted fire is considered Non-Turreted (NT) for purposes of TH Case C” (C2.2401; C5.3). Translation: a +3 Gun Duel DRM for non-turret-mounted fire, or a +5 Gun Duel DRM if the vehicle is Non-Stopped or in Motion.

DEFENDER-Declared Gun Duel

If a Moving vehicle declares a Bounding First Fire attack before expending any Movement Points (MP), the DEFENDER may declare a Gun Duel, but only with the units that are the target of the B1F attack (C5.33). Third parties may not intervene. This was clarified in what passes for an official Question-and-Answer some time ago. The procedures for determining who attacks first are otherwise the same as for an ATTACKER-declared Gun Duel.

DEFENDER Covered Arc Changes

Regardless of which side declares a Gun Duel, only the DEFENDER may attempt to change Covered Arc (CA) during a Gun Duel. However, the timing of any CA change is dependent upon whether the DEFENDER has a Gun Duel DRM less than or equal to that of the Moving vehicle. It is important to recognize that when Gun Duel DRM are equal, any CA change  will occur before the tie-breaking Final TH DR determines who attacks first. If the DEFENDER’s Gun Duel DRM are greater, the DEFENDER must await the outcome of the B1F attack, and if still able to, change CA before making a return attack. Pivoting to present a superior Armor Facing is an important consideration for a DEFENDING vehicle, often more important than any potential attack against the Moving vehicle.

Castling Long

During the course of rewriting and expanding Jim’s article, I encountered a number of situations that gave me pause to reflect on the intent of C2.2401. After talking them over with Jim and others, I decided to send them to Perry Cocke for adjudication. That was in September 2021. I have yet to receive any answers to my shopping list of questions. So instead, I’ll leave you with another list of questions—this time with answers—concerning Gun Duels. Enjoy!

As always, we hope that you found this article useful. Should you spot an error or need clarification on some aspect, please let us know. If there is a topic you would like to see covered please let Jim know that too. As demonstrated here, he just might take you up on it. 

Until next time. — Jim and Chris.


1. Unlike a concealed Gun, which only loses concealment after it fires, and then only if it rolls a 5 or 6 on the colored die roll, other units normally lose concealment the moment they declare an attack. I think the last sentence of the illustrated example in C2.2401 nails it, however, by stating “concealed when it declared its attack” [emphasis added]. 

2. There is an old question-and-answer that deals with these modifiers:


Q. The rule states “Neither the +1 DRM for a Gyrostabiliser nor the doubling of the lower dr of the TH DR for other Guns in Case C4 is included in this calculation.” Does this mean the Case C modifier of +1 for G (only) is ignored? The Case C4 modifier (only)? Or both?

A. Both. [Letter1]

3. Ed. I intended to elaborate on this subject. However, I ran into some trouble when delving into the subject more deeply. I discussed the matter with several players last year, but we could not agree on how the rule was intended to be played. So I dispensed with the topic. Having drafted this article six months ago, I didn’t want to delay publication further.

4. According to A.5, “whenever an attack is made by multiple attacking units/weapons, if a modifier applies to some, but not all, of the attacking units, it applies to the attack only if detrimental to the attacker.” And as the question-and-answer below confirms, the leadership DRM is ignored for the purposes of this calculation unless a leader with the same or better leadership DRM is present in both Locations.

A.5 & A7.52

Q. What is the total DRM for a two-Location FG: the 1st Location contains an 8-1 and a squad and has +2 total Hindrance to the target; the 2nd Location has a CX squad and no Hindrance to the target?

A. +3.