My suggestion here is outside the box and it will take time to implement, but I think that the result will be a better WW1 experience for Verduners which will provide options appealing to both the competitive and the historical players.
The suggestion is to drop all current line infantry squad types (Landsers/Tommies/Poilus/Doughboys) and replace that one with four separate line infantry specialist squad types.
The current line infantry has a number of issues with most of them based upon the idea that all weapons and specialties can be fitted into four line infantry roles with three tiers for each. A minor issue is that there is no longer much room for new line infantry weapons unless some other weapons are dropped in future tier updates, but new weapons are always of concern for some in the community. Another problem I consider minor but others feel important is that except for rare German Marines or dismounted German Cavalry that no more western front Central Powers squad types can be realistically created.
There exists some major problems with the current "one size fits all" line infantry. The Verdun line infantry is not historical, as lightmachineguns did not exist early in the war and they were never distributed down to every fourth soldier even late in the war. Hand grenade teams and rifle grenade teams were features of many late war platoons and companies, but neither, like the lightmachinegun teams, were commonly filtered down to the squad level and neither existed early in the war. The current line infantry requires special private match rules to attempt historical matches and few in the competitive community even allow lightmachineguns in their events.
I propose instead to eventually discard the current line infantry squad types with up to four replacement new line infantry squad types in a future update for all nationalities which had at least some of these special teams:
- Rifle Team line infantry squad type. All nationalities had those. No lightmachineguns of any type at any tier should be allowed. Best would be to use the most common long rifle plus bayonet for all roles at tier one adding more rare rifles at later tiers. Limit the grenades with zero grenades at tier one, one grenade at tier two, and two grenades at tier three.. Even the corporal (nco) should have most common long rifle plus bayonet at tier one. The four roles would be corporal/rifle/rifle/rife. Some fellow at role second rifle tier three could have a different rifle than fourth rifle tier three, presenting many options for even rarer rifles. But please reserve tier one all roles to most common rifle plus bayonet (Gew98/Lebel/SMLE/17Enfield).
- Hand Grenade Team line infantry squad type. Hand Grenades were rare in 1914 and became more common as the war continued. Someone wishing to set up some 1914 scenario could disallow hand grenade teams, as could some setting up competitive matches, but hand grenade specialists did exist at the platoon or at least the company level for most nations during the war even if they were only rarely distributed to squads. The Americans actually had four man hand grenade teams with roles of corporal/thrower/spotter/scout and I suggest some hand grenade team could use those roles as the template. The actual thrower was armed with multiple grenades and usually had something like a grenade vest or sack to carry that many while being armed otherwise with only a pistol or a carbine. The others were armed similar to riflemen, but were trained to take over as thrower if the primary fellow was lost. Having a hand grenade squad type could also introduce many new grenade variations from multiple nations.
- Automatic Rifle (Lightmachinegun) Team line infantry squad type. It was historically true that lightmachineguns became more common later in the war but their availability varied by nationality. For example, the British were issued the Lewis at a rate of about one per platoon by the Somme while the Germans did not normally have their own lightmachineguns until the spring of 1917. Later in the war, lightmachineguns almost filtered down to about one per eight to ten man squad, but they never were as common as the "every fourth line infantry fellow with an AR" seen in the Verdun game. For most of the war, lightmachineguns operated as specialist teams of the platoon and not as members of a rifle squad. American sources suggest that an AR team was about four in number and had roles of corporal/gunner/carrier/ and carrier. Only the gunner would have the weapon, while the others brought additional ammunition to the AR while being armed like another rifleman. Those on the team not the gunner were trained to operate the primary AR if necessary. Having a separate AR squad type could also explore a few more lightmachineguns like captured Lewis guns for pre-1917 German units. Historical and competitive groups could prohibit AR teams if they are separate from other line infantry by special rules.
- Rifle Grenade Team line infantry squad type. Rifle grenades were common for most nations at least later in the war with their availability depending upon the nation and year in question. Introducing rifle grenades almost requires its own suggestion thread, but keep in mind that other WW1 games have used them to good effect and that perhaps the one thing most prohibiting their introduction is due to the fact that the current line infantry has no room for them in the present nco/rifle/gunner/bomber format. Eliminating the current line infantry structure would permit the developers to explore rifle grenades as a separate line infantry squad type. With nations like the Americans and French having around six rifles modified for RG use per 40-50 man platoon, rifle grenades were very common and became the "artillery" of line infantry stuck in no-man's land beyond the reach of land-line telephones. Looking at American sources, I suggest some RG team to be corporal/grenadier/grenadier/carrier. The grenadiers may use RGs under special rules like perhaps requiring them to be both crouched and stationary. The grenadiers probably should have their rifles with accuracy worse than a sawn-off it used as a sniper as RG rifles did suffer from heavy wear. The others in the team act like ordinary riflemen along with providing more rifle grenades. Like the other non-rifle squad types, the RG team squad type can be prohibited for historical scenarios or for competitive matches.
I think expanding the possibilities of line infantry can both introduce new weapons and yet add new squad types. I think specialist line infantry squad types would improve both historical and competitive Verdun. It would make for a better game.
If this suggestion is approved, i want all ncos given corporal stripes, not officer uniforms. This would not only be fitting for the team concept but it would allow some future update to include actual separate officers with eventual duties like manning land-line phones.
Customer support service by UserEcho