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Okay chaps, this might get a bit narrative, so bear with me.
I was just thinking - what role do sergeants play in a squad of Guardsmen in 40k? Well, nearest I can tell, they look pretty and have an extra CC attack. Not terribly useful. Now as something of an historian I just don't feel that IG sergeants are fulfilling their potential. I mean - we can assume that these men are veterans - veterans who may have fought aliens that can move at lightning fast speeds, or super men, or actual daemons for goodness sake! And what do they actually do? Well not alot of anything really. In reality, sergeants have filled-in for comissioned officers, if one was not available. They are the backbone of a squad and are, generally, the be all and end all of that squads performance. Frankly - if I was the commander of an army and my sergeants were as limited as the sergeants in the IG list, I'd be looking for new non-coms.
So is this a thread just whinging about the sergeants? Absolutely not. I think I've come up with some decent rules to add to the usefulness of the average sergeant. I'll list the rules as per usual and give my commentary on their uses in another colour.) Check it out:
Combat Orders(+15pts): Sergeants are often required to make split-second decisions in the heat of battle. To this end, if a Sergeant successfuly passes a Leadership check, he may issue any one of the following orders to his squad, where applicable:
-Form Up! - The Sergeant orders his squad into a new formation to better counter a particular foe. At the end of the Imperial Guard player's movement phase, the selected squad may make a "free" move, to get into formation. No model may be moved further forward than the model which was furthest forward to begin with. Likewise for the rear and sides of the squad. This makes it alot easier to get a squad into Close Order Drill, without painting a big target on them for artillery. I really can't imagine a squad of Guardsmen advancing in perfect COD (maybe Mordian's or Preatorian's, I suppose) when that will just make them a more attractive target for template weapons.
-Volley Fire! - The Sergeant orders his troops to target an enemy unit and fire simultaneously. In the shooting phase, any models in the selected squad that carry a Lasgun fire their weapons 24", regardless of movement (all rules and restrictions for the "Run" rule still apply). Each Guardsman with a Lasgun fires a single shot. If the enemy unit is in range and line of sight, the Guardsmen score hits on a 5+ - wounds are scored on a 3+. To use this command, the squad must be in Close Order Drill. This represents the sheer ferocity of disciplined volleyed fire. Firing a volley is much easier than taking aim at a specific target - hence this ability being used even if the squad has made a regular move, this does, however, reduce accuracy - hence hits only being scored on a 5+. Wounds are scored on a 3+ to represent the few models that are hit being hit repeatedly and simultaneously - I feel that this pretty much encapsulates the Guard's attitude to infantry warfare!
Open up on them! - The Sergeant orders his squad to concentrate fire on a particular enemy. If the squad scores a hit on an enemy unit in the shooting phase, the enemy unit must pass an LD. check or be pinned. This does not apply to units that cannot be pinned, i.e units that are fearless. This represents the squad firing repeatedly and ferociously, in order to keep an enemies head down, as opposed to simply shooting to kill. This is a fairly basic tactic - so I'd hope that even the technophobes and Ad Mech zealots of the 41st millenium could work it out!
No Mercy! - The Sergeant orders a charge - bellowing a battle-cry and leading from the front. For the purposes of resolving the combat, the squad count as being at +1Ld in the first round of combat. In any subsequent round, the regular leadership is used. This represents a squad being inspired to fight as hard as they can by their Sergeant.
So - what do we think? I know some of the rules seem a touch complicated - but once you actually use them they are fairly straight forward. I've play tested with these in a few games and they were fun to use and not earth-shaking in the impact they had - they made enough of an impact for me to want to use them again, but not so much that anyone wouldn't want to play against them! I think the 15 point cost balanced out the ones that don't have an obvious drawback, and the ones that do were made suitably fair by their respective handicaps.
I am (as ever) totally open to C and C, though I would prefer not to get drawn into a discussoin about history - if you really want to talk facts and figures, by all means PM me!
And here I was expecting a 'just putting on more stuff' idea thread like me...
You have a very good and unique idea here. And as an actual Non-Comissioned Officer, I do believe the NCOs in a guard force really need to play more of a role.
Thank you very much.
Pretty much every generation of my dad's side of the family have either been NCO's or officers, and hearing all their stories, I just didn't feel that the Sergeants were living up to their obligations.
Means an awful lot to have the approval of a serviceman, though. Thank you for the imput.
Some nice rules there, I think GW should make squad leaders a little more than soldiers with an extra attack and more leadership.
Officers need a similar overhaul (they should be free but integral to the correct running of the army and have a similar statline to guardsman)
Thanks very much.
I totally agree about the officers - particularly platoon commanders, at the moment, are just cannon fodder! I just about manage to make them useful and functional as officers should be in my army, but they're ridiculously expensive (around 300pts each) and sometimes I wonder if it's worth it! While on the subject of officers - I keep hoping for new models with the new codex - I just really dislike the pose that our current officers are in...
I never though about something like this before, good ideas here btw. The only idea I had on my mind was the auxilary grenade laucher, but now you just added a pretty big piece. I do like all of them, except there is no way GW will keep these upgrades so cheap as 15 pts.
I would edit the volley of fire since it doesnt make my sense. Instead of all the goofy rolls to hit and to wound, why not just give the squad a +1 to hit rolls thus leting them hit on 3+. A volley of laser beams is almost impossible to dodge, and the guardsmen shoot in the general direction than each is bound to hit something. Also, if charged they can get a +1 to hit in CC since running into a wall of bayonets will obviously get someone killed very quickly. Plus they also get the close order drill.
In fact you just gave me a new idea:
Pull Back! - Can be used when the squad is falling back. All rapid fire weapons can be fired up to their maximum range even though the models do count as moving. Sort of like leap froging in modern terms. HEavy weapons CAN NOT be fired.
Last edited by WraithGuardian; August 11th, 2008 at 00:51.
The thing about firing in volleys is that it is VERY inaccurate. Basically, each man fires directly in front of him, not taking into account what is actually there. When you consider that the target unit will probably be spread out, combined with the fact that the Guardsmen are rather close together, not many enemy would actually be hit - hence the reduction in to hit. Of course, those that were hit would probably be hit by more than one Lasbolt at once - hence the wounding on a 3+. When I first thought of these extra rules I did consider just giving them +1 on the "to hit" rolls, but to be honest, that's just WAY to over-simplified and not a terribly accurate reflection of the realities of volley fire.
As for the CC bonus, I feel that that is accurately covered by the original Close Order Drill doctrine - anything more than that and this particular order would be worth way more than 15pts.
Great idea really. I didn't see that coming. GW does have the command structure set up pretty goofy. Most of what real good officers contribute stops after the planning stage. They have the common sense to let their more experienced non-comms take the reigns. LoL, maybe the HSO should be an officer capable of contributing during the "actions on" stage without messing everything up. They should give all of the other officers BS 2. This is one of the reasons why I have been making what my brother has named "no frills" lists with nothing but JOs (without honorificas) and vet sergeants with close order drill to maintain a ld 9 in most places.
It's a great idea but the volley fire bit is nuts. That rule might make sense with conscripts or something. NOBODY!! volley fires at anything anymore! Even still, back in the day, when the mo was to volley fire your non rifled muskets that were only accurate to 50 meters or so, you better believe the guys shooting that wanted to kill the enemy were aiming at the enemy, even if they were farther away. Nobody who wants to hit something is going to not aim or not take account of what's in front of him. If that were true it would only make sense for them to shoot the guys in front in the back of their heads. Give Joe some credit, he's not blind.
Last edited by YounGunner; August 12th, 2008 at 02:40.
As for "back in the day" I'm afraid you're very wrong. The "guys that wanted to kill the enemy" were veterans - veterans didn't even look at their weapon when they were firing! They would present their weapon ahead of them and turn their heads as they pulled the trigger, because the flash and cordite fumes from the flashpan caused dazzling and serious discomfort after a battle. As for the mechanics of it - as they have to be in close order drill to use the order, you can assume that the front rank would kneel and the rear rank would stand - as men firing muskets did historically.
I'm afraid that's exactly how people fired in volleys.
Some aiming did come into it- they were told to aim for the knees or groin, because such is the massive kick from a musket, firing it level would probably result in the entire volley flying over the enemies' heads.
That happenned at the Battle of Assaye, IIRC. One of the Mahrattie regiments fired high... all the damage they did was make the Scottish regiment's Bearskins a bit tatty.
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