Flames of War Smoke Tactics

Hi all coxer here again, today I wanted to talk about smoke in FoW and it’s uses.

Smoke
comes in two forms, direct and bombardment – and it has two principle
effects – units shooting through smoke can only see 16 inches, and if
the target you’re shooting at is obscured by smoke it counts as
concealed and gone to ground – except for defensive fire where it’s just
concealed.


However
there are some difficulties with smoke, you have to fire it at an enemy
unit – so still need to roll to hit. Bombardments spread according to
the wind direction – a random roll on the first smoke bombardment. Smoke
bombardments must be the first shooting in the shooting step, and
direct fire smoke is resolved before normal shooting from a platoon.
Despite all of that smoke is key to FoW.

Bombardments

With the exception of soviets pretty much
every faction has access to this, it can range from cheap mortars and
nebelwerfers to large artillery pieces. On offence the main aim early on
is to use smoke to stop the enemy shooting you. Now you move then fire
smoke so a bad dice roll can leave you exposed, but frequently if you
drop smoke on an enemy unit they have to decide to either not shoot you,
(over 16 inches away) shoot you at a +2, or move out the smoke and drop
their RoF. 

On
defence smoke bombardments are great vs enemy spotters (stop their
bombardment) or to protect one of your defensive units which will be
shooting, from an opposing unit which can hurt it.

But
the third important area is combat, frequently you will have to assault
a unit in the open, being able to assault through smoke makes you
harder to hit from defensive fire – but almost as importantly, after
combat it gives you somewhere safe to consolidate into.

Direct

The classic units which provide this are
mortars and shermans etc. Direct smoke is a powerful tool, but requires
huge discipline to go to reduce enemy effectiveness vs damage.

There
are three principle ways I use it. The first, like the bombardment, is
to just obscure an enemy unit. This is a great tactic when faced by some
giant beast like a Jagdtiger! The other options though require synergy
with other units. The first is sniping.  Take this example, my Brits are
facing soviets, the Shermans fire direct smoke, unlike normal shooting I
choose where it goes, and I place it to obscure every tank except the
command. I then use my M10’s to fire, the shots first are resolved
against the easiest to hit tanks – e.g the platoon commander. He’s taken
out and the platoon needs a new commander to move! A very effective
tactic.

The other is on defence,
if you have AT guns and mortars for example , the AT can shoot the enemy
tanks, which the mortars can then direct smoke. Again this leads to the
decision to stay still and shoot at +2 or move and drop RoF
I
hope this has helped understand smoke, if you have any other great
tactics let me know, or if you want me to cover areas drop me a line
too.

Category: Flames of WarTactica

4 comments

  1. I'm sure that's a good tactic for tournaments and competition play (smoking all but the squad leader/special variant/etc)… but I can't but feel that it's completely meta-game'y, and not something I would definitely appreciate in a friendly game between friends. It's basically saying that there's an infantry company hiding in a building, and I'm going to smoke every single window, except that window 2 to the left, on the 4th floor because my company commander has this 6th sense 'hunch', and through miraculous and magical gunfire, kills the enemy platoon leader, who sends the entire company on a rout, winning the battle. Eeeeehhhhh….

  2. Nice article. Thank you.

    Been enjoying FOW since 2004. My small group has always had issue with the perfect ability to fire and target the leader of any platoon… with artillery bombardments or the direct fire method. So…. simply we add +1 to hit whenever the platoon or team targets specifically the platoon or company (warrior) team base. Still a valid tactic but reduces the firepower effect a bit to reflect the search time of finding that specific vehicle or team in the heat of battle.

  3. What rule do you refer to that requires you to hit the easier to see tank/target first? I can see an effect of smoke that prevents a target being engaged at over 16"/40 cm that might require hits to be allocated to an unsmoked target, but if all target tanks were at short range then I can't see a reason why hits must first be allocated to the unsmoked command tank first as your tactic suggests.

    1. Since the tank/target is now concealed and Gone to Ground from the smoke you will need to allocate hits to teams that are not Concealed and GtG before allocating hits to them when they are shot at.

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Article by: Mark Goddard