The Combat Mission Personal Campaign Game

The Combat Mission Personal Campaign Game is not a true campaign game; it is submitted here to players of Combat Mission as a proposal to enhance their gaming experience, by attempting to personally involve the player in the combat actions he is portraying through use of a "character."  By assuming the identity, and sharing the fate, of one of the HQ units in Combat Mission, it is hoped these proposed "rules" provide Combat Mission players an added measure of satisfaction.

These rules are based very loosely on those presented originally in the board game Squad Leader, one of the first wargames to attempt to simulate Second World War infantry combat at the company and battalion level. 

These rules are divided into two parts.   Part I deals with the advancement of the player's character by using his actions and achievements in a series of Combat Mission battles/operations to affect his leadership abilities in future games.  (While the manual for Combat Mission has dismissed this (and rightly so) as unrealistic, it is presented here mainly for fun.)  Part II deals with the award of decorations and badges to a player's character, as a convenient way of tracking his achievements/fate in a given number of missions.

The rules in either part can be adopted independently, or together.

General Rules

Regardless of which parts are adopted, the Combat Mission Personal Campaign Game involves playing a number of missions (or alternately, operations, or a mixture of the two) as the same nationality, with at least one infantry platoon included in the player's forces in each mission.

In each mission or operation, one of the platoon HQ units will be used to represent the player.  This HQ unit, and the squads and weapons under its command, will be used to determine the progression and eventual fate of the player.

While a platoon HQ represents a half dozen or so men, the contents of this group is random.  As long as one man remains unwounded in the Platoon HQ group, for playability's sake, it is assumed that man represents the player's character.

These rules are meant to be used for fun, not in active competition with others, though comparing the fates of more than one "character" may appeal to two or more players, especially those playing in one of the various campaign games that are being created on the Internet for players of Combat Mission.  (These campaign games are "true" campaign games, simulating the actions of brigades, divisions, corps and armies, with individual players simulating combat at the lowest levels by playing battles in Combat Mission that affect the overall campaign).   The nature of these rules, however, rely on the honour system to a fair degree and should be regarded as not immune to cheating.

Typical Platoon Compositions (June 1944)

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Army (Heer) Rifle Platoon
Platoon HQ
Rifle 44 Squad
Rifle 44 Squad
Rifle 44 Squad
SS Rifle Platoon
Platoon HQ
SS Rifle 44 Squad
SS Rifle 44 Squad
SS Rifle 44 Squad
US Rifle Platoon
Platoon HQ
Rifle Squad
Rifle Squad
Rifle Squad
Bazooka Team
60 mm Mortar Team
British/Canadian Rifle Platoon
Platoon HQ
Rifle Squad
Rifle Squad
Rifle Squad
PIAT Team
2 inch Mortar Team
Army (Heer) Panzergrenadier
Platoon (Motorized)
Platoon HQ
Motorized Infantry Squad
Motorized Infantry Squad
Motorized Infantry Squad
SS Panzergrenadier
Platoon (Motorized)
Platoon HQ
SS Motorized Infantry Squad
SS Motorized Infantry Squad
SS Motorized Infantry Squad
US Paratroop Platoon
Platoon HQ
Paratroop Squad
Paratroop Squad
Paratroop Squad
M1919 MMG Team
M1919 MMG Team
M1919 MMG Team
Bazooka Team
60 mm Mortar Team
British/Canadian Airborne Platoon
Platoon HQ
Airborne Squad
Airborne Squad
Airborne Squad
PIAT Team
2 inch Mortar Team
Army (Heer) Panzergrenadier
Platoon (Armored)
Platoon HQ
Panzergrenadier Squad
Panzergrenadier Squad
Panzergrenadier Squad
SS Panzergrenadier
Platoon (Armored)
Platoon HQ
SS Panzergrenadier Squad
SS Panzergrenadier Squad
SS Panzergrenadier Squad
US Glider Platoon
Platoon HQ
Glider Squad
Glider Squad
Glider Squad
M2 .50 Cal HMG Team
60 mm Mortar Team
 
Fallschirmjäger Platoon
Platoon HQ
Fallschirmjäger Squad
Fallschirmjäger Squad
Fallschirmjäger Squad
Panzerschreck Team
Gebirgsjäger Platoon
Platoon HQ
Gebirgsjäger Squad
Gebirgsjäger Squad
Gebirgsjäger Squad
   

Part I - Leadership

The disadvantage inherent in the rules presented here for leadership is the requirement that scenarios being played have to be edited (either by the player or by a third party).  In particular, the attributes of the player's "character", or Platoon HQ unit, must be altered.    This means that without a third party providing the editing, the player will have to have a supply of pre-designed scenarios (as leaders cannot be edited in random quick battles.)

Before each mission (or operation), one of the player's Platoon HQ units is assigned the player's name.  For the first mission (or operation) so played, the HQ unit's attributes should be edited so that all four categories of leadership are set to zero, and the unit's Experience is set to Regular.  (If historically correct, this can be altered to Green, for example, if the player is wishing to portray a member of a recently raised unit.)

The letter ID of the platoon HQ should be noted, as the statistics of both the platoon HQ, as well as the squads assigned to it, will be important.  Also, note the ID letters of any weapons units attached to the squad (EXAMPLE - a British infantry platoon has three squads that share the Platoon HQ's letter designation, however, there will also be a 2-in mortar team and a PIAT team.  Be sure to record the ID of the two teams attached to the platoon headquarters on paper, and only use the statistics generated by these two units, even if other teams come under commmand of the platoon HQ during the game.)

At the end of each battle (this includes battles during operations), use the map screen at the end of the game (access this from the After Action Report) and check the statistics of all the platoon's units.  Points are awarded as per the following table; a running total of points should be kept from battle to battle. 

"Bravery Points"

Battle ends in Friendly Total Victory + 5 points
Battle ends in Friendly Major Victory + 4 points
Battle ends in Friendly Tactical Victory + 3 points
Battle ends in Friendly Minor Victory + 1 point
Battle ends in Draw 0 points
For every platoon unit exited from the map through a scenario designated Exit Zone + 3 points
For every infantry casualty inflicted by platoon units + 2 points
For every infantry casualty inflicted personally by the platoon HQ + 3 points
For every man captured by platoon units or HQ + 4 points
For every unarmoured vehicle destroyed by platoon units or platoon HQ + 5 points
For every pillbox or bunker destroyed by platoon units or platoon HQ +8 points
For every AFV destroyed by platoon units + 10 points
For every AFV personally destroyed by the platoon HQ + 20 points

"Cowardice Points"

Battle ends in Enemy Minor Victory - 3 points
Battle ends in Enemy Tactical Victory - 7 points
Battle ends in Enemy Major Victory - 8 points
Battle ends in Enemy Total Victory - 10 points
For every platoon unit completely destroyed (except HQ) - 5 points
For every man in the platoon captured at the end of a battle. - 4 points
For every platoon unit absent from the map at the end of the battle (including Platoon HQ, but excepting any units that exited through an Exit Zone for victory points) - 3 points
For every casualty suffered by platoon units or HQ - 2 points

After each battle, calculate the final running total of points; if the total is more than 20, remove 20 points from the total and designate one of the 4 leadership modifiers to be improved by a factor of 1.  This modifier will be the new higher total in all future battles.  The choice is a permanent one and the player may not opt to improve different categories in different battles.

If the total is below negative 20 points, add 20 to the total, and select a modifier to reduce by 1.  If all modifiers are zero, reduce the experience level of the HQ in future battles by a factor of one instead.  If the experience is already "Green" and all modifiers are already at zero, do not add 20 points to the total.  There is no other effect.

One problem with this system is that units that exit the mapboard cannot have their statistics checked after the game.  One may consider routed units as eliminated and thus discount their statistics, but it seems unfair to penalize units that leave the map via an Exit Zone.

It is therefore necessary for players to track their units during each turn.  In turns in which the unit exits the map, the playback will have to be "rewound" and the units kill and casualty statistics recorded as close as possible to the moment that the unit exits the map.

During play with others, these statistics should be "verified" by use of a screen capture of the appropriate screen(s).

 

If the Platoon HQ unit is Eliminated during the course of play, players may optionally consider their character as "wounded", as fatal casualties are not determined during the course of play by the game system.   Alternately, players may decide to make a random drawing to determine the fate of their character; suggested "odds" would be a 20% chance the character is killed, 20% chance he is seriously wounded and not able to return to combat, a 20% chance he misses out on a number of combat days (if playing this Personal Campaign Game as part of a Campaign Game), and 40% chance he is lightly wounded and may continue on.

Another more precise way would be to take the number of fatal casualties (KIA) that occur to the player's side in a battle in which the Platoon HQ is eliminated, and divide by the total number of casualties, to give a more accurate representation of the player's odds of having been one of the fatalities.

If the Platoon HQ unit is Captured, the Personal Campaign Game is over (players may optionally implement the possibility of escape - no rules for that will be presented here, however).

Part II - Decorations

The rules in Part II can be applied with or without those in Part I.   If used alone, they can be used in Quick Battles and other scenarios where the player cannot edit the units before hand.  As in the Part I rules, the player selects a Platoon HQ before each battle to represent him.  He is eligible to award his character the following decorations in accordance with his "achievements" in the various Combat Mission battles he plays.

The following is the list of decorations available under these rules, and the necessary conditions  for the bestowal of the awards.  Like the rest of these rules, these are a suggestion only.  On the battlefield, worthy candidates for these awards will no doubt present themselves.   Players in a campaign game setting may wish to set up an awards committee, or agree by general consensus on meritorious acts worthy of special attention.

The following conditions of award are expressed in Combat Mission terms and will not in most cases bear exact resemblance to real life practice.  For example, the real life Infantry Assault Badge was not dependent on the infliction of casualties by the recipient, but for purposes of these rules will be a deciding factor on whether or not the player's character was actually involved in combat.

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Service Decorations

The following decorations recognize service and are the easiest, relatively speaking, to receive; all one has to do is actively participate in combat - and to survive.

  Combat Leadership Tab The Canadian Volunteer Service Medal
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Awarded automatically for completion of 18 months service in the Canadian Army; maple leaf device awarded for 6 months service overseas.  Players may consider this award automatic on beginning the Personal Campaign Game.
The 1939-43 Star
3945.gif (1115 bytes)
Awarded automatically for completion of 6 months service during the period 1939-43.  Players may wish to consider this an automatic award for British players.
Infantry Assault Badge
(Awarded in Silver to Infantry troops and awarded in Bronze to Motorized Infantry troops)
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Participation in at least  three battles in which at least one of the platoon units either
a) inflicts an infantry casualty, or,
b) suffers one casualty
Combat Infantry Badge

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Player must survive for 180 calendar days of any campaign.
None
Close Combat Bar (Bronze)
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Participation in at least 15 battles in which at least 1 infantry casualty was caused by at least one of the platoon's units.

EXCEPTION: If the player has become entitled to the Wounds Badge (see below) the requirement changes from 15 battle to 10 battles.
None None
Parachute Qualification Badges
These are mentioned here for the sake of completeness; those players whose characters are serving in parachute units may automatically be considered to have earned these badges as a normal part of their training (though for German paratroops by 1944, this was not actually the case).
Parachute Badge Jump Wings Canadian Jump Wings
British Jump Wings

Wounds Badges

As the Personal Campaign Game calls for the player's character to be represented by a multi-man unit, and casualties in Combat Mission are not specifically tracked, players must decide on a method for determining whether or not their character has suffered a wound or not.

Wounds Badge
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Awarded for suffering a wound in combat.  The first and second time the recipient qualifies for this award, a Black badge is received.   Silver is awarded for three or four awards, and Gold for five or more.
The severity of the wound can also affect the class of badge awarded, but this is not relevant to the Personal Campaign Game.
The Purple Heart Medal
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Awarded for suffering a wound in combat.
Wound Stripe
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Awarded for suffering a non-fatal wound in combat.
Achievement Awards
Tank Destruction Badge
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One badge is awarded for each destroyed AFV credited directly to the Platoon HQ unit.  Upon destruction of the fifth AFV, the four silver badges are traded for one gold badge. 
The player is not eligible for this award if units in his platoon other than the HQ unit destroy an AFV.
None None
Bravery, Leadership and Gallantry Awards

These awards are the hardest to distribute accurately.  There are two methods worthy of consideration:

a)  The first method can only be done in the context of a Campaign Game with multiple human players; this method is also the optimum method.  That would be to have an awards committee, to which players would submit applications in the form of screen shots and After Action Reports providing evidence of some extraordinary deed their character is deemed to have committed.   Some campaigns may leave the bestowal of awards solely in the hands of the Gamemaster as well.

b)  The second method is more rudimentary, but less open to interpretation.  In the course of a single battle, award points as described in Part One.  If in the course of a battle the requisite number of points has been achieved, that character is automatically bestowed the indicated award.   While this system leaves little room for argument, it does fail to appreciate truly "heroic" deeds committed in the game.  The point totals should be seen as a general guide only.  It also fails to recognize outstanding leadership, or succesful defensive actions, as the points are based on the more quantitative basis of kills inflicted.  In actual practice, VC winners were often survivors of intense combat where many of their unit were killed or wounded; this is hard to accurately portray in a purely points-driven system as given here.

A combination of the two systems may also be found to be appropriate.

For those opting for the "points" method, a suggested system is given under each medal type.  For purposes of medal awards, regardless of nationality or medal type, the Cowardice and Bravery points earned are NOT cumulative from battle to battle and qualfication by points must be done in the confines of a single battle.

The Iron Cross Second Class
May only be earned or awarded once by/to an individual.
ekii.gif (1211 bytes)
To qualify, the player must earn 30 or more bravery points in a single battle on two seperate occasions.  Cowardice points earned in the same battle(s) are not used for this calculation.
The Bronze Star
Bronze "V" device worn to denote Valor/Heroism. Second and subsequent awards are denoted by bronze Oak Leaf Clusters; a silver Oak Leaf Cluster is worn in lieu of five bronze.

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If in any battle the player accumulates 30 Bravery points or more after Cowardice points are subtracted, a Bronze Star is awarded.   Additional awards of oak leaf clusters are made for achieving the same results in subsequent battles. 
EXCEPTION if a Silver Star is merited instead, no Bronze Star or cluster is awarded.

Mention in Despatches
Not a decoration per se, a soldier of any rank being Mentioned in Despatches was entitled to wear an oak leaf on the ribbon of the War Medal (which was not issued until after the War was over). This is the only award other than the VC that can be awarded posthumously.
The Mention in Despatches can only be awarded or earned once.
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If in any battle the player accumulates 30 Bravery points or more after Cowardice points are subtracted, a Mention in Despatches is awarded.   EXCEPTION: if a MC or VC is merited, no MiD is awarded.
The Iron Cross First Class
Cannot be earned or awarded unless the recipient has already earned the Iron Cross Second Class.
eki.gif (1617 bytes)
To qualify, the player must already possess the Iron Cross Second Class, and earn 40 or more bravery points in a single battle on two seperate occasions.  Cowardice points earned in the same battle(s) are not used for this calculation.
EXCEPTION - if in a single battle the player accumulates 80 bravery points (without deducting cowardice points) but does not hold the Iron Cross Second Class, he may be awarded both decorations simultaneously.
The Silver Star
Second and subsequent awards are denoted by bronze Oak Leaf Clusters; a silver Oak Leaf Cluster is worn in lieu of five bronze.

ss.gif (1088 bytes)

If in any battle the player accumulates 40 Bravery points or more  after Cowardice points are subtracted, a Silver Star is awarded. 
EXCEPTION if a Medal of Honor is merited instead, no Silver Star is awarded.

The Military Cross
  Traditionally awarded to Warrant Officers and Junior Officers (Lieutenants and Captains)
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  Addtional awards are indicated by a rosette worn on the ribbon.
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If in any battle the player accumulates 40 Bravery points or more after Cowardice points are subtracted, a Military Cross is awarded.   If in a subsequent battle the player accumulates 50 Bravery points after Cowardice points are subtracted, he is eligible for the rosette. 
EXCEPTION if a Victoria Cross is merited instead, no Military Cross or rosette is awarded.

The German Cross in Gold
Cannot be earned or awarded unless the recipient has already earned the Iron Cross First Class.
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To qualify, the player must already possess the Iron Cross First Class; this may be given to Knight's Cross holders as well.   In addition, the player must earn 60 bravery points in a single battle; cowardice points earned in the same battle are not used for this calculation.
EXCEPTION - if in a single battle the player accumulates 100 bravery points (without deducting cowardice points) but does not hold the Iron Cross First Class or Second Class, he may be awarded all three decorations simultaneously.
   
The Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross
Cannot be earned or awarded unless the recipient has already earned the Iron Cross First Class.

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To qualify, the player must already possess the Iron Cross First Class, and in addition must accumulate a total of 50 bravery points in any one single battle, AFTER cowardice points are deducted for that same battle.

The Medal of Honor
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If in any battle the player accumulates 50 Bravery points or more after Cowardice points are subtracted, a Medal of Honor is awarded.
The Victoria Cross
The highest award for personal gallantry in the British Empire.  A miniature of the Cross was always worn on the ribbon; additional awards were indicated by a second miniature.
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If in any battle the player accumulates 60 Bravery points or more after Cowardice points are subtracted, a Victoria Cross is awarded.

The Knight's Cross, Medal of Honor, and Victoria Cross were exceedingly difficult to earn. 

As an example, of approximately 1 million servicemen and women to serve in the Canadian Navy, Army and Air Force in World War Two, only sixteen received the Victoria Cross.

Of these, 10 were from the Army.

Of these 10, two went to non-combatants (one chaplain and one medic).

Of the other eight,

One went to an infantry battalion commander.
One went to an armoured squadron commander.
Three went to infantry company commanders.
One went to an infantry Company Sergeant Major.
One went to an infantry platoon sergeant.
One went to an infantry private.

 

Throughout the Empire, 181 Crosses (and one second award) were awarded during World War Two (including British, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand, Gurkha, Indian and South African troops).  The VC has only been awarded twice to the same man on three occasions throughout its history, and only once in the Second World War, to a New Zealander.

 

Part III (?) Rank

No discussion has been made on this page of military rank.  It is assumed for purposes of these rules that the player's character stays in the same rank; others may wish to optionally change this and make rank progression possible. 

Most Commonwealth platoon commanders held the rank of Lieutenant; some may have been Second Lieutenants but this rank appears to have been more rare in front line infantry units in the British or Canadian Armies than in the US Army.    Promotion to Captain almost always accompanied a move to other duties, such as company command.  Some platoon commanders in specialist platoons (ie the Carrier Platoon) were indeed Captains, but infantry platoons were not commanded by men of this rank.

In the German Army, on the other hand, only one in three platoon commanders was "officially" an officer, usually a Leutnant (Second Lieutenant).   It was not uncommon for an Oberleutnant (equal to a First Lieutenant or Lieutnenant in the US and Commonwealth armies respectively) to lead or command a company.  The other two platoon commanders were NCOs, so there is a bit more latitude with regards to rank in the German forces.

Methods of Wear

The most interesting way to track decorations and awards would be graphically; the following are the practices adopted by the various armies for the wearing of awards.

canmed.jpg (18957 bytes) Method of insignia wear for a Canadian Lieutenant. 

Wound stripes were always worn on the left sleeve, vertically, 6 inches from the cuff.  In the example at left, two stripes are worn indicating two wounds.

Medal ribbons were worn in order of importance over the left breast, most important at the left.  In order of importance from left to right, this would have been Victoria Cross, Military Cross, 39-43 Star, CVSM.  The Mention in Despatches oakleaf was not worn until after the end of the war.

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Method of insignia wear for a Panzergrenadier Oberleutnant. 

The Iron Cross Second Class was normally worn from the second buttonhole, while the First Class was worn centred on the left breast pocket.  The Knight's Cross was worn at the throat, and the German Cross on the right breast pocket. 

Assault badges (only one could be worn) were worn beside the Iron Cross, on the side closest to the centre of the body; the Wounds Badge was worn on the opposite side of the Iron Cross, also on the left breast pocket.

Tank destruction badges were worn on the right sleeve.  Gold badges were worn above silver badges where both were present.

Worksheet

Players of the campaign game may find the following worksheet helpful to use for each battle played.

Subtotals
Platoon HQ  
Squad 1  
Squad 2  
Squad 3  
Weapon 1  
Weapon 2  
Weapon 3  
Weapon 4  
Weapon 5  
Victory Level
(see right)
 
TOTAL  

Victory Level

Battle ends in Friendly Total Victory + 5 points
Battle ends in Friendly Major Victory + 4 points
Battle ends in Friendly Tactical Victory + 3 points
Battle ends in Friendly Minor Victory + 1 point
Battle ends in Draw 0 points
Battle ends in Enemy Minor Victory - 3 points
Battle ends in Enemy Tactical Victory - 7 points
Battle ends in Enemy Major Victory - 8 points
Battle ends in Enemy Total Victory - 10 points

 

Carry over from last battle:  
TOTAL from above:  

If 20 or more, subtract 20 and add increase the values of one of the boxes below by one.    If -20 or less,  add 20 and reduce one of the modifiers below by one).

If permitted to increase an attribute and all attributes are at maximum, increase Experience by one level instead..
If required to decrease an attribute and all attributes are at minimum, reduce Experience by one level instead.

 

Carry over to next battle:

 

 

Command: Combat: Rally: Stealth: Experience:

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