TIPS: So, can Col. Rosenburger be an asset? By: Eric Pass (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Included in the countermix for the Beta scenario German forces is the 6+1 leader Col. Rosenburger. How this leader with these dubious leadership modifiers can be best employed and not be a liability (and danger) to the other German units in this scenario will be the subject of this short article.
First, let's briefly review the role of leaders in the Squad Leader system. They have three main functions; directing attacks, rallying other units and increasing movement of units stacked with them. So, let's see how our 6+1 Col. Rosenburger performs in these categories.
Rule 15.2 states that "The leadership rating may be used to modify the Fire Combat dice roll of any single Fire Group per player turn ..."
Using Rosenburger's +1 rating means that the target would actually be harder to hit! Fortunately, the operative word in the rule is "may" and Q&A supports the ruling that you do not HAVE to use the leader's rating. So, if Rosenburger and 2x4-6-7 are stacked together in a hex, within normal range of some Russians in a wooden building, the 2x4-6-7 may fire undirected at the usual 8IFT+2, just as if Rosenburger was not in the hex with them.
Rosenburger therefore is neutral in effect with respect to directing attacks but stacking him with other units in LOS of the enemy is asking for trouble for if he breaks (and there's a 58% chance he will on a normal MC), all other units in the same hex will have to take a NMC on top of that required by the fire attack (Rule 12.22).
RALLYING OTHER UNITS:
Broken units in a hex with a leader may attempt to rally in the Rally Phase of either player turn (Rule 14.1). If broken, a 4-6-7 stacked with a leader will rally on a DR of 7 or less. If in DM, it will only rally on a 3 or less. If stacked with Rosenburger and his +1 rating, these two rally numbers are reduced to 6 and 2 respectively. Obviously, using Rosenburger is only slightly better than not attempting to rally. Fortunately, there is no greater chance of eliminating a rallying unit, as the elimination number remains an unmodified 12. However, if the 4-6-7 is DM, there are EQUAL chances that the unit may rally under Rosenburger as be eliminated with most results (94.5%) causing no effect. I generally don't feel it's worth the risk and will forego the rally attempt in this situation.
The Beta-0 scenario provides the German forces with only three leaders, one of whom is our friend Rosenburger (one more 8-1 is added for Beta-1). The best use for Rosenburger for rallying is to free up the other more effective leaders for other duties. Use Rosenburger well behind the lines, out of LOS of the Russians and even with his poor rating, he may return a squad or two to play before the end of the scenario.
Squads stacked with a leader for the entire Movement Phase receive a 2 MF bonus (Rule 5.44). This is probably the best use of Rosenburger, increasing the movement allowances of other units. Moving out of LOS of the Russians, he can get the squads stacking with him into position as competently as any of the higher rated leaders. Starting him in X3 with the 2x4-6-7 there, moving the stack X3-X4-X5-X6-X7 is a reasonable Turn 1 move to get units around to the north end of the village, perhaps taking up residence in T6 & U6 if the Russian units starting there can be persuaded to leave.
MORE ESOTERIC USES:
Leaders are classified as infantry units as well as the squad and crew units (Rule 2.1). As such, Col. Rosenburger is able to fulfill the Beta scenario victory condition building occupation requirements. Having Rosenburger lurking in the background, ready to use his 6 MF to move in the German Turn 5 Movement and/or Advance Phases is not a bad back-up plan for the prudent German player. He won't stop any determined Russian assaults on his own but he can deny easy occupation of his building hex and prevent Russian leaders from occupying it during their last turn without risking a Close Combat Phase. Alone in Close Combat, unlike fire direction, Rosenburger is compelled to use his poor +1 rating (Rule 20.72).
Another way to use Rosenburger is for denying paths of rout to broken Russian units. This can be done in two ways; first, broken Russian units may not move closer to him if in LOS (Rule 13.41) and secondly, if Rosenburger is fortunate enough to be manning a MG of some sort, he becomes considerably more useful, denying rout paths through open hexes out to the normal range of his support weapon. (Rule. 13.42 Q&A COI4-67). As well, when armed with a LMG, he is able to get a 1IFT-1 attack on any Russian units which move in the open in his LOS. His +1 DRM must be applied to his attacks when alone (Rule 17.4) and Rule 17.3 only allows him 1FP from the LMG but penetration is still a consideration and will serve to give the Russians pause before moving through his LOS.
In Beta-1, the Russian force is given 9 concealment counters and another 8 counters are provided in Beta-2. In these two scenarios, the German player will be looking at a sea of concealment counters early on. How best to remove them and determine where the Russians are lurking? "Concealment counters must be removed immediately when any unit beneath the concealment counter fires, moves, makes smoke, been fired upon resulting in a Morale Check, attempts to entrench or becomes adjacent to any enemy infantry unit following the conclusion of any Defensive Fire or Advance Phase." (Rule 25.4).
So here is another use for the now expendable Col. Rosenburger. Get him adjacent to a concealed Russian unit in the Movement Phase or Advance Phase and he will force the removal of the concealment counter either because of adjacency or having the concealed unit(s) fire on him. If done carefully and backed up by some firepower to take advantage of any unconcealed Russians revealed, Rosenburger may indeed prove useful several times before being broken or eliminated. Callous, perhaps, but it's yet another tool in a good Squad Leader player's arsenal! And Squad Leader is a game of options and probabilities.
So, in summary, Col Rosenburger, while limited in his useful functions, can be gainfully employed in a variety of roles in the Beta scenarios and whenever he is present in the countermix.
Q: When do & don't I have to use Rosenburger's +1 DRM?
A: Rosenburger's +1 DRM must be applied any time Rosenburger performs activities by himself. For example, when alone in Close Combat (20.72), firing a MG himself (17.4), attempting to rally other units (14.2), Rosenburger's +1 DRM must be applied. Rosenburger's +1 DRM does not have to be applied when other squads in his hex are firing at a target (15.2) or when other squads in his hex are engaged in Close Combat (20.6).e