Modifying Sniper and Patrol

Martin Thomas provides some improvements to SPI's games Sniper!
& Patrol!

I personally would rate these games among the top ones SPI have produced
but I do think the combat could be improved considerably.

As you know if you have ever tried 'The Old West' rules for western
gunfights, there is no such thing as an automatic kill, while on the
other hand that snap shot by a novice might just get lucky. In many of
the combat situations in these SPI games however there will be no
uncertainty, unless he panics, a man firing at 16:1 will always put the
enerny out of the game while there are times in Patrol when a man with a
rifle just cannot hit a man running in the open if the range is much
over 100 yards.

I would suggest using the table given below. To make things more
complicated you could of course work out your own table derived from the
Old West rules which give more detail e.g. light leg wound, inactive for
two phases or serious left arm wound, inactive five phases and can no
longer re oad or fire rifle. Certainly their hand to hand table could be
easily grafted on provided you ammended the categories so that 'warclub'
now reads 'entrenching tool'.
These games, especially Sniper, take on a new dimension when played with
three boards using an umpire to resolve sighting, panic moves and
cornbat. The other players just have their own men plus any enemy in
sight. The umpire must use his discretion, for example when he sees two
men whose moving will take them running past each other he may decide
they would not run blindly past but on a sighting run to contact and
fight, stop or even panic. Grenades may now be thrown blindly where an
enemy is suspected e.g. on the other side of a building. The possibility
also exists to outflank an opponent and get on his blind side. For the
umpire at least it has provided great entertainment watching two patrols
stumble about through the streets.

In a recent game a squad of Panzergrenadier infantry met a Russian squad
from a Tank Army in the streets of Orel in 1943. The Russian point man
was lucky(?) enough to see the whole German squad as he rounded a
corner. Whilst the rest of the squad made use of this information and
took to the buildings he, not surprisingly panicked and was shot down.
Several Germans tried to occupy the same rooms as the Russians and hand
to hand battles ensued while other Germans moved to an adjacent building
and lobbed grenades at Russians left carelessly out in the open. Higher
Russian preservation prevailed and the Germans were soon forced to
evacuate. Some of the hand to hand fighting still carried on however and
resulted in the Russians also reaching their preservation and so the
Germans got a points victory.

The players were not informed in detail of the revised CRT beforehand
and men they thought they had killed would suddenly appear again at a
window with another grenade. In one case however a German machine-gunner
killed two Russians several times over with spray fire at about five
yards. Umpires are definitely required to have a malicious sense of