In Revised OOB, can Antiaircraft Guns be taken as casualties of naval bombardment?
I think this is not supposed to happen, but I also believe that, under a literal reading of the rulebook, it should be possible since:
- Antiaircraft Guns are added to the battle board during step 1 (in the column number 1).
- Bombardment fires against enemy land units in the attacked territory, during step 2.
- Antiaircraft Guns are land units.
- Antiaircraft Guns are removed from the battle board (and returned to the game board) during step 3.
This would also imply that, when attacking a territory defended by nothing but one or more antiaircraft guns, the attacker may bombard these guns (if it prefers not to capture them) (the guns would be hit for sure also in case the territory is occupied only by defending air units and antiaircraft guns).
The fact that I would be able (or obliged, if no other targets) to bombard antiaircraft guns is, in my opinion, reinforced by this excerpt:
If it was there in the space when combat took
place, then it is considered to have participated in that fight whether or not there were planes to shoot
That confirms the antiaircraft units are there as defending (land) units, in the battle, in any case.
As a side note, the rulebook has a related inconsistency in that in the example on page 19 antiaircraft guns are remove from battle immediately after firing, during step 2, while the rules on page 16 state that the antiaircraft gun is removed from battle only on step 3. One could use this example to argue that first you make the AA Fire and, then, you make the Bombardment, while the antiaircraft guns are removed immediately after the AA Fire and before the Bombardment. However, I don’t think this can be the case, as I’m under the understanding that everything happening during the Opening Fire is supposed to happen at the same time, albeit resolved sequentially. Can we confirm that the example at page 19 is wrong, and the part that tells to return the antiaircraft gun should be on step 3, instead of step 2? A minor argument, on this matter, may be that this is a case covered under the page 18 rule that “you may also skip using the battle board for combat steps that occur one after the other without activity”, in that you would remove the antiaircraft gun, during step 2, as soon as it has nothing left to do for the rest of the battle.
I believe the only relevant place where antiaircraft guns invulnerability is declared is on page 25:
Antiaircraft guns are never destroyed, except when
a transport carrying one is sunk.
Which one may argue that indirectly implies that they can never be taken as casualties (it would be clearer if it would say that they can never be taken as casualties nor removed from play but as cargo). However, one could say that this is just saying that they cannot be destroyed (similarly to how destroyers save from removal submarines casualties, during step 3), not that they cannot be taken as casualties, thus you could take an antiaircraft gun as casualty, during step 2, and avoid removing it as casualty during step 3 (by returning it to the game board, instead).
To be clear, again, I’ve no doubt that the intention is that antiaircraft guns cannot be taken as casualties by bombardment, but I’m just pointing out that, reading what the rules say, to some extent, it looks like they can, and I’m curious if I’m ovelooking something.
I think everything I said applies to LHTR too (beside the fact that air units are eligible bombardment casualties).