A long time ago when TOI first came out, I remember we would often forego taking assault actions as we believed them to be to complicated and didn't want to go through reading all those pages again. In fact they're actually surprisingly simple, which I will explain a bit further on. First of all, why or rather when would you prefer taking an assault action over a close range move and fire action, after all, in the latter your opponent doesn't get to shoot back, at least not simultaneously. Well, there are two common situations in which an assault should take preference:
  1. When you need to expel your opponent from a hex because it's a(n) (command) objective hex [and you're running out of time/actions]
  2. Not being able to advance into a certain hex, might leave you exposed out in the open.
In addition, there are two more distinct advantages assaults have over close range fire and move attacks:
  1. Up to two- even fatigued- adjacent squads get to assist in the assault ( at half firepower). I.e., those two fatigued units will more often that not already have performed a fire and move action to soften up the target and will now get to throw attack dice AGAIN! That's a major advantage. Secondly,
  2. Unlike in fire and move attacks, in assault attacks the active squad's dice are not halved.
OK, so far so good. But you say, "Hey wait a minute, didn't you mention before that in an assault the opponent gets to fire back simultaneously and in a fire and move attack they don't!? That's certainly a major drawback to assaults, right". Well, yes and no. The assault rules also say that pinned squads only defend at half strength [unless a friendly officer is present in the hex at which time they defend at full firepower], but a DISRUPTED squad, regardless of an officer being present, doesn't get to fire back at all and if such a squad is forced to retreat it is immediately destroyed ( a pinned squad being forced to retreat becomes disrupted). So the trick is: PLAN AND EXECUTE YOUR ASSAULTS CAREFULLY! . I.e. first try to disrupt, or at least pin, defending squads, so the return fire will be a lot less potent. You then get the benefits of not having your attack dice of the active squad halved as well as getting up to two squads-even if they're fatigued- to contribute half firepower. Such firepower is hard to muster in a regular fire and move attack!

OK, so now that I've hopefully pointed out the sense of taking assault actions, there remains the issue of them being allegedly cumbersome and complicated. I admit, there are some special situations with light vehicles, equipment. flamethrower assaults etc., but the basics are actually surprisingly simple. Once you get those down the above "exceptions" will also dawn on you soon enough! Here's the basic sequence of an assault:

  1. Declare an assault action with one of your squads. It receives one fewer movement point (it does not HAVE to move). Its attack dice are NOT reduced.
  2. If the unit moves towards the hex to be assaulted, it may be stopped by enemy [suppressive] op fire as usual.
  3. If not stopped, and the squad has ended up adjacent to the to be assaulted hex, the active squad now rolls the number of black attack dice it's entitled to along with the halved firepower of up to two adjacent squads which may even be fatigued (but not pinned or disrupted).Simultaneously, also roll the number of red cover dice the defender may get from terrain and/or certain specializations or operation cards.Remember an assault is always considered to be a normal attack at close range!
  4. Take note of the number of hits scored (success dice - successful cover dice), DO NOT YET REMOVE ANY CASUALTIES!
  5. The defender now rolls the number of black dice it is entitled to. Even if the attacker is located in cover providing terrain, he never gets to roll any cover dice in an assault!
  6. Remove both sides' casualties. The attacker must remove figures from the active squad first! (This in fact is the reason why it's better to have a flamethrower squad SUPPORT an assault attack, rather than actually taking an assault action!)
  7. If the attacker scored more hits, they may advance into the assaulted hex and any surviving defending units must retreat to a single legal adjacent hex. If an equal number of hits was scored or the defender scored more hits, they retain control of the hex and the attacker may not advance into it.
There you go, those are the basics of an assault and I hope this article has shown how and when to use them!

Happy gaming!
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