Saturday, May 14, 2011

Hex War Games - Strategy Part XV - Protecting Artillery

Alluded to in the earlier article was the necessity of protecting artillery, particularly through 'pairing'.  I received some emails asking for examples of what I mean, so this article will explore the concept further.

For this article we will make the following assumptions:
  • It is desirable to protect Artillery from attacks on the front and frontal-flank positions.
  • Artillery has a minimum range of 3 hexes and maximum of 4 hexes
Unpaired Artillery
In the diagram below, the artillery is unpaired. each artillery unit has its own guard of 3 tanks each to prevent the enemy from attacking the artillery units.

Unpaired Artillery
An advantage for this configuration is each artillery unit and its guarding units are autonomous.  They may move around the board as needed.  The major drawback is the number of units required to protect the artillery.  In limited unit games, it is nice to have as many units assaulting as possible.  This configuration requires 6 units be used to protect the 2 artillery.

Loosely Paired
Moving the artillery units just two spaces closer together, the artillery becomes 'paired'.  Paired artillery share the same guarding units.  In this case, the center tank is a shared defensive unit.

Loosely Paired Artillery
Although it seems like the center unit would be a weak point, for if it were to fall than both units are exposed.  However, it is actually a strong point.  Both artillery units can call down fire onto that hex directly in front of it, subjecting the enemy to a withering fire.  Lastly, this defense requires only 5 units rather than the initial 6, freeing up an additional unit.

Tightly Paired 
Moving the artillery units closer by a single hex reduces the number of guard units by one yet again.  The artillery units are now tightly paired, but now the number of guarding units is 4, freeing up yet another unit for other duties.  If the enemy were to assault the two frontal units, both artillery could be used to protect either unit.
Tightly Paired
Compact Paired 
A final configuration for protecting artillery units exists, the compact paired.  in this case, the artillery units use only three guardians.  The artillery units must be in adjacent hexes for this configuration to work, as shown in the diagram below.

Compact Paired
Although the guarding units are shown in a non-symmetrical configuration, they can be arranged with overlapping ZOCs if desired.  However, the shown configuration above does allow for 'leapfrogging' artillery (by one space) and still maintaining the defensive arrangement.  To perform the maneuver, the center tank would "shift" one hex to the upper right while the rearmost artillery and its flank covering tank move up one hex.
Compact Paired Artillery - Leapfrog Moving 
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