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Chaplains in PG
#1
Most of my Army career was spent as a Chaplain Assistant. I ended up teaching military history at the Chaplain School in the last 2 years before leaving in '95. So one of my pet projects has been to add a chaplain character/counter to games. Easy enough for US and perhaps British as there is usually 1 assigned to a battalion. I'm afraid I'm not up on other armies, and was a bit surprised when I found Lutheran chaplains in Falschirmjaeger units in WW2. The easiest thing I can think of to include a chaplain in a game where there is 2 or more companies from the same battalion present is to take a spare Captain or LT counter, one without a Leadership rating but that has at least a 1 to help rally troops. If this seems a bit too much for many games, then perhaps an included officer can be used as a chaplain if you draw one that meets that leadership criteria. He's not a combat leader but is there working with those who have broken or who are on the verge of breaking. The Catastrophic Leader Loss rule should probably be incorporated with use of a chaplain in such a game. Adding a Padre to any of the British games might be an interesting way to try this out, or to just about any of the larger Airborne scenarios. I don't have any experience with the Campaign rules yet but I could see something along the same lines in one of those. Any other thoughts?

Tom Oxley
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#2
Interesting idea there Tom. Nice counterpart to the Kommissars. I myself prefer God to Tokarevas & Vodka. So you are thinking something like this?
[attachment=636]
... actually you Americans are probably the most dangerous people in the world. This is because you treat war as a job, and your culture has an excellent work ethic.
-- paraphrased from John Keegan's Fields of Battle

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#3
First, thank you for your service.

Second. I have no clue what role chaplains performed during combat. Were they on the front line? On the back to help rally troops? Provide peace of mind to the wounded? I am curious and would like to hear more.

Third, your suggestion has the basis of a balanced optional rule. Chaplains would provide a morale benefit but their loss would be catastrophic.

If there a fair size scenario (30+ units on each side) in which you know chaplains played a bigger role than usual, you may want to play test it with a chaplain counter and see how it works. And then submit your final rules as Daily Content to Avalanche Press. Or post it here first so you can get some additional feedback.
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#4
Thanks. That counter looks great. The best example I have of chaplains in the combat zone would be Chaplain Samson, with the 101st Airborne. The image of the padre in The Longest Day, having jumped and lost his chaplain kit and searching for it under fire in the flooded area is probably based on Samson, or is very close to his situation there. He lost his way and was captured by German troops, and was soon rescued by other members of his battalion. He jumped in again during Market Garden, and was captured again when he landed in water, a castle moat if the story is to be believed. He was again rescued by members of his unit. At the Bulge, he was told that a platoon out on the perimeter had taken a lot of casualties and he and his assistant took off in a jeep. A short time later, his assistant told him that the vehicles they were passing through were not friendlies. He was once again captured, but this time he finished the war in the POW camps. He went on to become the chief of chaplains during the Korean War. He is apparently the image seen in Band of Brothers as troops are preparing to load onto the C-47s as the chaplain was conducting services. Chaplains have been free to stay either with a forward unit or with the casualty clearing station/battalion aid station, depending on how their ministry called them. Close to 2/3rds tend to do forward ministry to be with the troops. Chaplains serve in a similar capacity to the kommisar [except for the re-education step reductions Smile] and also redistribute ammunition and water between troops under fire [good for an optional rule when using Ammo Shortage rules - the chaplain scrounges extra ammo and gets it to the weapon that has run out on a 1 or 2 or something like that]. Always seems one part of the line is firing more ammo than the other, and somebody out there still has a full canteen when others have run out of water. They have some very basic first aid skill, probably not much more than most troops, but since they are not firing a weapon, have a little more time to use it. The chaplain counter might include his enlisted assistant, but I would think the combat value of one man would be accounted for among the unit he is with. While not directly a WW2 thing, 3 chaplains were awarded the Medal of Honor in Vietnam, 2 Navy serving with Marines, and 1 Army serving with the 173rd Airborne. All 3 were serving under fire, and 2 of the 3 died in action [Waters and Capodono - the only combat ship ever named for a clergyman was the USS Capodono]. Another chaplain of the Korean War was recently awarded the MoH for his actions in that war. In some countries that have larger specific faith group populations, chaplains may be assigned where a majority of the troops are of his faith. That seems to have been very popular in British units, most of which were predominately either Catholic or Church of England. US units tend to assign within a Brigade so that there are 3 protestant and 1 Catholic chaplain within the brigade area and 1 Jewish chaplain within the division - this is based more on the constant shortage of those faith group chaplains than on anything else. There are some stories of Catholic chaplains serving opposite Italian forces that went forward and used their Latin to talk Italian troops into surrender, but I have no confirmation on it. Several of the battalion level or multi-battalion level scenarios in Beyond Normandy would be very good places to insert one or more padres.

I'll have to tinker a bit and see what I can come up with for an article. I'm sure I have enough material with me even this many years since I retired. I have the 4-book set on the history of the Army Chaplaincy that has a lot of good stuff. Thanks for the ideas.

Tom
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#5
Curious topic....
At this scale, I'd be against including Chaplains except as a SSR (modeling when perhaps a Chaplain had an inordinate/heroric effect on the battle). I'd have to say that the Chaplain effect on the history of combat operations is more similar to a heroic effect than those of Kommissars which had impact on organizations. You might as well include rules for Scottish Bagpipers. I am just not sure PzG is the scale to do it.
Some games (i.e. Lock n Load Publishing "Heroes" series) do include rules for Chaplains in the scenarios that include them. But again, this is a game Squad/individual scale and Weapon combat, where a Chaplain's presence is slightly more pronounced.
If PZG doesn't model hero generation, I don't see why it would model Chaplain effects. I would see little reason to include an assistant, but instead assume it to be part of the counter itself...much the way, I assume a leader counter is armed and with probably an RTO and bodyguard (since every leader can call OBA)... the leader counter probably represents 2 people- the leader and someone who can provide personal security, but who is is not really capable to inflict actual step losses. I also do not think, except for the very, very rare extremely charismatic chaplains, their loss would be catastrophic. In the very rare, case, the loss of a chaplain could actually INCREASE the resolve of a force to exact revenge/fight harder.
While many Chaplains earned distinguished medals under combat conditions, their conduct was mainly to help evacuate wounded and tend to the dying and especially shell shocked to go above and beyond the call of duty to save lives, but rarely turn the tide of the battle.
Some interesting considerations for a Chaplain rules might be:
1. "Yeah tho' I walk...:" Chaplain morale modifier cannot prevent or recover a unit from disruption, but DO effect/mitigate Demoralization or perhaps prevent compound morale failure or prevent fleeing.
2. " Commander's Spiritual Counsel": Chaplains cannot actually recover units, but can provide a recovery bonus to a leader's attempt to recover.
3. "Who Put You in Charge?": would not give Chaplains any ability to actually activate/ direct multiple units forward toward an enemy that can hurt them- like a leader giving tactical orders over a radio, but I think a Chaplain could provide resolve to an individual Platoon it traveled with
4. "Fury" effect: The casualty of a Chaplain ( a beloved personality plus their spiritual significance) could have a double edged effect. Either Catastrophic Loss morale check or even a +1 shift "Fury" effect to a combat resolution

Just some thoughts for fun....
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#6
I agree, Armyduck, not something for just any game. Thinking of one or two specific events in the Bulge, at Normandy, that sort of thing. I'll go through my books and try to put something together, where an existing scenario might be made just a little bit better with one chaplain.

Another option would be to include one instead of another regular leader when players really want some sort of balance in an otherwise unbalanced scenario.

I'll get some notes together and place here well before I try to submit anything for daily content or anything.
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#7
A question came to mind after thinking about heroes and leaders. I'm seeing leader counters as somewhat heroic type people anyway. High morale leaders might best be thought of as heroic, or at least above average, those with 10 or higher morale, while those with a 7 or anything else lower than the standard force morale would be below average. Since the standard unit counter is a platoon, all platoons on the table have platoon leaders, but the game mechanic only allows for certain leaders to stand out enough to have separate counters for them. Some scenarios with multiple companies, even battalions, don't always have full senior commands represented in counter form, so I have to see leader counters somewhat as at least above or below the average leaders, who are present but who have little or no effect beyond their own space. When a Sergeant counter comes into play, and has the same ability to effect multiple hexes as a Colonel (minus the Chain of Command thing), I think it is pretty safe to see him as an above average leader, an Audy Murphy or John Basilone. I've played a lot of board and miniatures games, many that include leadership mechanics and many that don't, so I try to get away from the ASL mindset of heroes when looking at PG and just try to use the leader mix, with the randomness that the system gives us, that one game may see an above average bunch of leaders, while the same scenario played another day may see a very much below average group of leaders. Honestly, if it weren't for the addition of the leader counters and what they represent, I might not have been drawn to actually play PG. How do others see the leader counters, beyond just being a game mechanic?

Tom Oxley
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#8
Tom,

Spot on. The randomness of the leader draw allows some variation or indeed a lot of variation in how the same scenario will play and that is a fantastic inbuilt feature. It means different players may experience a different feeling than another player using the same scenario.

For me, Chaplains and heroes per se are too small at this scale. I could see more sense having for example MP platoon counters in the game that assist road speed movement at say a junction hex. These are at least at the right scale.
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#9
Tom, To answer you question directly, I see the leader counters as just the command and control function of the game. If I try to think about real life command structure there are points that just don't sync up, such as platoon leaders. I see them more as an abstract for the ability to command or provide special functions to the troops such as FO support for OBA and combat and morale bonus.

If you are interested in personalizing the leaders via Chaplains or Heroes, take a look that two out of print book supplements C&C1 and C&C2. These provide some extra characteristics as well as personalizing the leaders to your choosing.
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#10
There is no PG without leaders.

From my perspective, leaders are individuals who stand out enough to have a strong and immediate impact on the action. Troops follow their orders because they are leaders in the true sense of the word.

Even my "10" Komissar, DirtHarrykov, had a strong influence on the action despite him being too trigger happy.
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