The Myth of the Battlefield Taxi


This is a re-writing of a blog post I wrote back when Horizon Wars was first published in response to people asking why there weren't rules in the game for infantry transports. What follows is based upon my own military experience and training, but that was, I freely admit, a long time ago now and I'm prepared to be told that tactical doctrine regarding IFVs and APCs has changed since then. But, to date, I've had no professional soldier challenge this position.


So, all that said, here we go...


Contrary to the assumptions of many tabletop warlords, APCs and IFVs (the latter is basically the former with a bigger gun) do not operate in warfare in the capacity of taxis, running around, picking up squads that need a lift to go somewhere. Rather, they fulfill one of three roles.

1. Intimate, organic support. In this capacity, the vehicle remains in (often very) close proximity to the squad for which it is the transport. It moves them to an assault location, they assault the location, then they re-board and move elsewhere. If under fire, the squad will typically disembark using the vehicle as cover, in order to deploy their own direct fire assets against whoever is shooting at them. If the squad is in a building, the vehicle will remain as close to the building as possible to provide a quick getaway on exit. This function is primarily represented in the rules as that of the Mobile Infantry element.


2. Detached support. In this capacity (usually unique to IFVs), the vehicle separates from its squad well before the Line of Departure and, at H-Hour, moves to a position to provide medium- to long-range support to the operation as a whole. This will involve engaging with enemy targets of opportunity and even performing independent assaults. In this role, the infantry squad and its IFV only re-connect after re-org (by which stage, the wargamer is adding up victory points). This function is primarily represented in the rules as that of the Light Cavalry element.

3. Pure transport. In this capacity (usually unique to AFVs and light transports), the vehicle deposits the squad at the rendezvous point, well short of the LD and either remains at the RVP or retreats to a safe harbour until the assault is concluded. This function is primarily represented in the rules as not being included in the army.


*However*, despite all of this, I have taken pity upon those of you determined to move your infantry and other elements around the battlefield and included rules for creating superheavy transports in Over the Horizon which, if you are adequately motivated, can easily be applied to elements with Presence 3 or less to give you easy battlefield taxis. *And* you will find rules for troop transports (which I have called "taxis" specifically to make fun of you) in the rules for Hardwar, which you will see later this year. ;)

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