NCO acting as a Loader

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    Mark Prichard

    May an NCO act as a loader?  This is very important when looking at the British parachute diversion squad (pg 138 Overload) that starts with 8 men (7 men and an NCO, per errata) and 2 piats and 2 lMG both that would require a loader.  There does not seem to be enough  men to fire the weapons unless the NCO is also a loader.

    L.T. Russell

    Interesting question Mark!  On the one hand, an NCO shouldn’t shirk helping out with his unit’s work.  On the other hand, he’s not running his unit if he’s doing a Private’s job of sticking another shell into a PIAT or feeding belts into an LMG.  Sounds like this unit needs a ninth man or some weapon is undermanned….

    Stuart Harrison

    NCOs are specifically prevented from becoming loader for a squad based team weapon.

    MRB, p73, Weapons, Weapon Special Rules, Team Weapon, Squad Based Team Weapons, third sentence – ‘Choose which model becomes the loader – you can pick any model in the squad except the NCO…’

    As written, there should be one weapon with no loader to comply with the rules as written, or a specific special rule in the entry allowing the NCO to act as a loader as a specific exception for this squad (as the entry does with splitting fire for the PIATs). The Errata adds one extra man in the composition, but still not enough to crew all weapons: ” Page 138, Parachute Diversion Section. Composition should be: NCO and 7 men. ”

    That said, there is precedent in the FAQ for the Sahariana squad NCO to act as loader in a similar situation – one of several FAQ responses that (in my opinion) should have been an errata to create a specific exception to a specific rule, or simply been ruled the other way to keep the rule consistent.

    “Regarding Compagnia Sahariana. Squads are set at an NCO and 3
    men. Up to 2 men may upgrade to SMG, Up to 2 men may upgrade
    to LMG. Is the NCO meant to be able to upgrade to an SMG? Also,
    if 2 LMGs are taken one will be automatically without a loader
    (unless the NCO can load)?
    The NCO can have one of the two SMGs, and can act as the
    loader for an LMG.”

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