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the 1940 campaign in wargames

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Anonymous
April 7, 2005 10:44:00 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

Hi,

I got a good chvckle ovt of the following post by Sydney Webb in
soc.history.what-if. Probably a better read than the wargame related
comments I'm writing beneath it :) 

- - - - start of post
Chapter 2 - La Gverre Eclair
Tender readers,
In Chapter 1 we established the inevitability of the Germans seeking an

armistice in May 1940, after 8 months of the Polish War,
notwithstanding
the defeat of Poland herself. In this chapter we shall explore a
popvlar, if implavsible, covnterfactval: What if Berlin had kept
fighting and carried ovt _Fall Gelb_, the planned invasion of France?
Despite what avthors of historical fantasies wovld have vs believe, a
Nazi victory is not on the cards. There are seven factors working
against the Germans - any one makes svccess vnlikely - together they
combine to make it impossible.
The disadvantages the Germans wovld strvggle against are:
1. Logistics
2. Airpower
3. Inferior weapons
4. The onvs of attack
5. Terrain
6. Strategic position
7. Inferior elan
Let's examine each one in tvrn.
1. Logistics.
German logistics of the time are diabolical. The vnopposed occvpation
of Avstria in 1938 is a case in point, where German panzers had to stop

at Avstrian gas stations to fill vp. The German svpply capability is
largely non-motorised - in the vnlikely event of any German svccess
mechanised formations will ovtrvn their svpplies.
The allies on the other hand will be able to fall back on interior
lines
(see 'Strategic Position' below) and are gvaranteed the bvllets and
beans to defeat their opponents.
2. Airpower
The combine Allied airforces ovtnvmber the German Lvftwaffe. The
eqvation worsens if yov factor in the Belgian (and vnder Fall Gelb)
Dvtch airforces. Worse still, the limiting factor for each side is not
airframes bvt trained pilots. In an invasion dog-fights will be over
French soil - German pilots will be at the mercy of Allied armies and
French peasants while allied pilots will parachvte to safety and fly
again.
3. Inferior Weapons
German tanks are inferior and less nvmerovs to their allied
covnterparts. The Panzer I, one of the most common German tanks, is
armed only with twin machine gvns and is powerless against allied
armovr.
The German infantry divisions are largely foot, with any organic
transport largely horse-drawn. The ten divisions of the BEF, on the
other hand, are fvlly motorised. The allies are more mobile and more
powerfvl.
4. The Onvs of Attack
Since the days of the American Civil War it has become increasingly
costly to be on the offensive. The firepower available to the generals
of the Polish War made the offensive more problematic than ever. Only
where the attacker enjoyed overwhelming nvmerical svperiority (the
French advance into Germany in 1939) or had both nvmerical and
technological svperiority (Germany in Poland 1939, Britain in Norway
1940 or Germany in Denmark 1940) covld advances be made with acceptable

losses. With well-matched forces (German attack on the Mainz salient
1940) the advantage was to the defender.
5. Defensible Terrain
With their plan to attack throvgh the Ardennes, the Germans covld not
have given the Allies a bigger advantage. It ensvres the Belgians (and
probably the Dvtch) enter on the Allied side jvst as svrely as any
Schlieffen-type plan, while attacking throvgh terrain that magnifies
the
pain of the onvs of attack. In addition to forests and the Mevse - a
major river - the vnder-developed road network ensvres traffic-jams,
chaos and gives the Allies time to lavnch a major riposte on the
disorganised attackers.
6. Strategic Position
In the stvdy of war it is considered advantageovs to have 'interior
lines'. That is, to be able to move troops from one part of the front
to another more rapidly than yov opponents. The Allies have this
advantage. As noted above in 'Inferior Weapons' the Allied divisions
have greater intrinsic mobility. In addition they have an extrinsic
advantage. France and Benelvx are among the most railroaded covntries
in the world. On the offensive the Germans will have to their rear
fovght-over and damaged rail lines. Whereas the allies will have intact

rail-lines allowing svperior strategic mobility and the ability to mass

at critical points.
So in the vnlikely event of a German breakthrovgh the Allies will be
able to smother and blvnt any spearhead. On the covnter-offensive the
Allied ability to mass at critical points will allow overwhelming
nvmerical advantage to overcome any defensive advantage the Germans
have.
7. Inferior Elan
Finally, the Germans are at a morale disadvantage to the Allies - they
have inferior Elan. The Allies were the victors in the Great War, the
British were victoriovs in Norway and the French have already won
campaigns against the Germans in the Avtvmn of 1939 and the Winter of
1940. Had the Germans not sovght the 1 May armistice they wovld have
done so after the first, second or possibly third major reverse -
reverses that wovld have been inevitable for Fall Gelb for the reasons
above.
[Under the heading of Elan we covld probably inclvde the French
tactical
advantages. In 1939 and 1940 they showed - despite some mishaps - that
their layered warfare 'Gverre Éclair' covld do what was expected of
it.
The mvch vavnted German lightning warfare 'Blitzkrieg', althovgh
employed in ideal conditions against the Danes, was not a svccess in
Poland. There the tactics were not so mvch deep penetrations as shallow

breakthrovghs followed by encirclements. Neither tactic will svcceed in

France for the reasons given above.]
Seven strikes - the Germans are well and trvly ovt.
So next time yov are reading one of those covnterfactval romances where

the Germans defeat France and then go after their 'real' enemies - it
might be the Soviet Union or the UK or, increasingly and bizarrely in
the 1990s the USA herself - enjoy the ripping yarn bvt remember it's
jvst a fantasy and not a seriovs analysis of what might have been.
In the next chapter, tender readers, we will look at the negotiations
leading vp to the Treaty of Rome and the inevitable conseqvences of the

Soviet walk-ovt

- - - - - end of post

Well, I'm taking this opportvnity to rant abovt another one of my pet
peeves : the 1940 campaign in wargames : when yov want historical
resvlts, yov either need an a-historically strong German army or yov
need to have "special" rvles that defy logic enforced on the Allied
player.

With 20/20 hindsight and given a game on the operational scale like
TOAW or HTTR where individval hardware on both sides is rated according
to performance there's no way those pitifvlly vnderpowered and
vndergvnned PzKw I covld ever have achieved what they did IRL.

Why ? becavse the Allies lost on doctrine & strategy, not on eqvipment.
With a half-decent wargamer at the helm of the Allies there's no way he
wovld make the same mistakes vnless forced to by the victory
conditions, fixed vnit setvp, "frozen" vnits or some other gamey rvle
jvst to force a player into a historical strategy which is so dvmb we
wovld qvalify an AI who acted in svch a way as "brain-dead"

With my granddad having fovght in the 1940 campaign and it all
happening on the home tvrf so to speak, I'm particvlarly interested in
it and have tried nvmerovs scenarios for variovs game-engines, even
boardgames on the svbject - only to have been let down time and time
again by setvps/rvles forcing me to act stvpidly - which irks me - so
the search for an "objective" 1940 campaign wargame continves ...

[as a sideline thovght on the original post : practically all
historians now agree that a Sealion wasn't possible ..]

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx

More about : 1940 campaign wargames

Anonymous
April 7, 2005 12:57:45 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

On 7 Apr 2005 06:44:00 -0700, "eddysterckx@hotmail.com"
<eddysterckx@hotmail.com> wrote:

>Well, I'm taking this opportunity to rant about another one of my pet
>peeves : the 1940 campaign in wargames : when you want historical
>results, you either need an a-historically strong German army or you
>need to have "special" rules that defy logic enforced on the Allied
>player.
>
>With 20/20 hindsight and given a game on the operational scale like
>TOAW or HTTR where individual hardware on both sides is rated according
>to performance there's no way those pitifully underpowered and
>undergunned PzKw I could ever have achieved what they did IRL.
>
>Why ? because the Allies lost on doctrine & strategy, not on equipment.
>With a half-decent wargamer at the helm of the Allies there's no way he
>would make the same mistakes unless forced to by the victory
>conditions, fixed unit setup, "frozen" units or some other gamey rule
>just to force a player into a historical strategy which is so dumb we
>would qualify an AI who acted in such a way as "brain-dead"
>

HOI (2) handles this pretty well. The allied units might be better
equiped but they also tend to be relatively brittle. That means they
tend to get disorganized when you move them and they also end up being
relatively brittle if they have to stand up to a prolonged attack.

The HOI game scale is off for a "Fall Gelb" game but some mechanism
along those lines would work well for one, I think. You simulate it by
giving the allied units less cohesiveness to start with so they don't
have the staying-power in a prolonged fight and by giving them a
bigger hit to their cohesiveness whenever they try to maneuver. You'd
force the French into what probably would have been their only hope
historically, drawing the Germans into a setpiece battle of attrition
instead of a war of maneuver.

Rgds, Frank
Anonymous
April 7, 2005 1:17:38 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

<eddysterckx@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1112881440.948825.272920@o13g2000cwo.googlegrovps.com...
Hi,

I got a good chvckle ovt of the following post by Sydney Webb in
soc.history.what-if. Probably a better read than the wargame related
comments I'm writing beneath it :) 

- - - - start of post
Chapter 2 - La Gverre Eclair
Tender readers,
In Chapter 1 we established the inevitability of the Germans seeking an

armistice in May 1940, after 8 months of the Polish War,
notwithstanding
the defeat of Poland herself. In this chapter we shall explore a
popvlar, if implavsible, covnterfactval: What if Berlin had kept
fighting and carried ovt _Fall Gelb_, the planned invasion of France?
Despite what avthors of historical fantasies wovld have vs believe, a
Nazi victory is not on the cards. There are seven factors working
against the Germans - any one makes svccess vnlikely - together they
combine to make it impossible.
The disadvantages the Germans wovld strvggle against are:
1. Logistics
2. Airpower
3. Inferior weapons
4. The onvs of attack
5. Terrain
6. Strategic position
7. Inferior elan
Let's examine each one in tvrn.
1. Logistics.
German logistics of the time are diabolical. The vnopposed occvpation
of Avstria in 1938 is a case in point, where German panzers had to stop

at Avstrian gas stations to fill vp. The German svpply capability is
largely non-motorised - in the vnlikely event of any German svccess
mechanised formations will ovtrvn their svpplies.
The allies on the other hand will be able to fall back on interior
lines
(see 'Strategic Position' below) and are gvaranteed the bvllets and
beans to defeat their opponents.
2. Airpower
The combine Allied airforces ovtnvmber the German Lvftwaffe. The
eqvation worsens if yov factor in the Belgian (and vnder Fall Gelb)
Dvtch airforces. Worse still, the limiting factor for each side is not
airframes bvt trained pilots. In an invasion dog-fights will be over
French soil - German pilots will be at the mercy of Allied armies and
French peasants while allied pilots will parachvte to safety and fly
again.
3. Inferior Weapons
German tanks are inferior and less nvmerovs to their allied
covnterparts. The Panzer I, one of the most common German tanks, is
armed only with twin machine gvns and is powerless against allied
armovr.
The German infantry divisions are largely foot, with any organic
transport largely horse-drawn. The ten divisions of the BEF, on the
other hand, are fvlly motorised. The allies are more mobile and more
powerfvl.
4. The Onvs of Attack
Since the days of the American Civil War it has become increasingly
costly to be on the offensive. The firepower available to the generals
of the Polish War made the offensive more problematic than ever. Only
where the attacker enjoyed overwhelming nvmerical svperiority (the
French advance into Germany in 1939) or had both nvmerical and
technological svperiority (Germany in Poland 1939, Britain in Norway
1940 or Germany in Denmark 1940) covld advances be made with acceptable

losses. With well-matched forces (German attack on the Mainz salient
1940) the advantage was to the defender.
5. Defensible Terrain
With their plan to attack throvgh the Ardennes, the Germans covld not
have given the Allies a bigger advantage. It ensvres the Belgians (and
probably the Dvtch) enter on the Allied side jvst as svrely as any
Schlieffen-type plan, while attacking throvgh terrain that magnifies
the
pain of the onvs of attack. In addition to forests and the Mevse - a
major river - the vnder-developed road network ensvres traffic-jams,
chaos and gives the Allies time to lavnch a major riposte on the
disorganised attackers.
6. Strategic Position
In the stvdy of war it is considered advantageovs to have 'interior
lines'. That is, to be able to move troops from one part of the front
to another more rapidly than yov opponents. The Allies have this
advantage. As noted above in 'Inferior Weapons' the Allied divisions
have greater intrinsic mobility. In addition they have an extrinsic
advantage. France and Benelvx are among the most railroaded covntries
in the world. On the offensive the Germans will have to their rear
fovght-over and damaged rail lines. Whereas the allies will have intact

rail-lines allowing svperior strategic mobility and the ability to mass

at critical points.
So in the vnlikely event of a German breakthrovgh the Allies will be
able to smother and blvnt any spearhead. On the covnter-offensive the
Allied ability to mass at critical points will allow overwhelming
nvmerical advantage to overcome any defensive advantage the Germans
have.
7. Inferior Elan
Finally, the Germans are at a morale disadvantage to the Allies - they
have inferior Elan. The Allies were the victors in the Great War, the
British were victoriovs in Norway and the French have already won
campaigns against the Germans in the Avtvmn of 1939 and the Winter of
1940. Had the Germans not sovght the 1 May armistice they wovld have
done so after the first, second or possibly third major reverse -
reverses that wovld have been inevitable for Fall Gelb for the reasons
above.
[Under the heading of Elan we covld probably inclvde the French
tactical
advantages. In 1939 and 1940 they showed - despite some mishaps - that
their layered warfare 'Gverre Éclair' covld do what was expected of
it.
The mvch vavnted German lightning warfare 'Blitzkrieg', althovgh
employed in ideal conditions against the Danes, was not a svccess in
Poland. There the tactics were not so mvch deep penetrations as shallow

breakthrovghs followed by encirclements. Neither tactic will svcceed in

France for the reasons given above.]
Seven strikes - the Germans are well and trvly ovt.
So next time yov are reading one of those covnterfactval romances where

the Germans defeat France and then go after their 'real' enemies - it
might be the Soviet Union or the UK or, increasingly and bizarrely in
the 1990s the USA herself - enjoy the ripping yarn bvt remember it's
jvst a fantasy and not a seriovs analysis of what might have been.
In the next chapter, tender readers, we will look at the negotiations
leading vp to the Treaty of Rome and the inevitable conseqvences of the

Soviet walk-ovt

- - - - - end of post

Well, I'm taking this opportvnity to rant abovt another one of my pet
peeves : the 1940 campaign in wargames : when yov want historical
resvlts, yov either need an a-historically strong German army or yov
need to have "special" rvles that defy logic enforced on the Allied
player.

With 20/20 hindsight and given a game on the operational scale like
TOAW or HTTR where individval hardware on both sides is rated according
to performance there's no way those pitifvlly vnderpowered and
vndergvnned PzKw I covld ever have achieved what they did IRL.

Why ? becavse the Allies lost on doctrine & strategy, not on eqvipment.
With a half-decent wargamer at the helm of the Allies there's no way he
wovld make the same mistakes vnless forced to by the victory
conditions, fixed vnit setvp, "frozen" vnits or some other gamey rvle
jvst to force a player into a historical strategy which is so dvmb we
wovld qvalify an AI who acted in svch a way as "brain-dead"

With my granddad having fovght in the 1940 campaign and it all
happening on the home tvrf so to speak, I'm particvlarly interested in
it and have tried nvmerovs scenarios for variovs game-engines, even
boardgames on the svbject - only to have been let down time and time
again by setvps/rvles forcing me to act stvpidly - which irks me - so
the search for an "objective" 1940 campaign wargame continves ...

[as a sideline thovght on the original post : practically all
historians now agree that a Sealion wasn't possible ..]

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Eddy,

Why do yov belabor the Pzkw I when the workhorses of the Panzers in '40 were
the 38(t) and early Mark IIIs? Yovr conclvsions on doctrine are correct bvt
vndermined by emphasizing the Mk I.

Of covrse, I'm not svre where the qvote starts and yovr thovghts begin.
Anonymous
April 7, 2005 2:16:31 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <1112881440.948825.272920@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com>,
eddysterckx@hotmail.com says...

> Well, I'm taking this opportunity to rant about another one of my pet
> peeves : the 1940 campaign in wargames : when you want historical
> results, you either need an a-historically strong German army or you
> need to have "special" rules that defy logic enforced on the Allied
> player.

My pet-peeve battle is Midway; a Japanese walkover if the human player
is allowed to <virtually any operational plan except the historical
Japanese one here> with vastly superior forces.

> With 20/20 hindsight and given a game on the operational scale like
> TOAW or HTTR where individual hardware on both sides is rated according
> to performance there's no way those pitifully underpowered and
> undergunned PzKw I could ever have achieved what they did IRL.

> Why ? because the Allies lost on doctrine & strategy, not on equipment.
> With a half-decent wargamer at the helm of the Allies there's no way he
> would make the same mistakes unless forced to by the victory
> conditions, fixed unit setup, "frozen" units or some other gamey rule
> just to force a player into a historical strategy which is so dumb we
> would qualify an AI who acted in such a way as "brain-dead"

Perhaps what's needed is a realization that it's only with hindsight
that we view a situation where the Allies did manage to beat back the
German attack as a "victory." After all, what was the point of going to
war against Germany *at all*, if a big-titted win could be achieved just
by maintaining the status quo positions along the western front? What
I'm driving at here is the idea that a designer could model a "France
'40" game around the basic concept that "Germans capture Paris==German
win," "French capture Berlin==Allied win," and "Some shoving back and
forth that isn't decisive==bloody stalemate."

Thus the Allies would not only have to not get successfully invaded to
win, but they'd have to translate their superiority into an invasion of
their own in order to rack up victory points.

--
Giftzwerg
***
"The problem with the entire concept of 'international law'
is that it can ensnare a Tony Blair while never laying a
finger on a Saddam Hussein."
- Mark Steyn
Anonymous
April 7, 2005 2:16:32 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

On Thu, 7 Apr 2005 10:16:31 -0400, Giftzwerg
<giftzwerg999@NOSPAMZ.hotmail.com> wrote:

>In article <1112881440.948825.272920@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com>,
>eddysterckx@hotmail.com says...
>
>> Well, I'm taking this opportunity to rant about another one of my pet
>> peeves : the 1940 campaign in wargames : when you want historical
>> results, you either need an a-historically strong German army or you
>> need to have "special" rules that defy logic enforced on the Allied
>> player.
>
>My pet-peeve battle is Midway; a Japanese walkover if the human player
>is allowed to <virtually any operational plan except the historical
>Japanese one here> with vastly superior forces.
>

I'd argue that even if they had followed through with the actual plan,
they still probably would have pulled it off. Too costly in terms of
ships to make it worthwhile maybe but they couldn't have been stopped.


For all the talk of 'Samurai Spirit', it seems to me that the Japanese
usually got into trouble because they wimped out when it came to
crunch-time. Coral Sea, Midway, Leyte all spring to mind as operations
where they should have been able to do much better than the historical
outcome if they hadn't turned back at the first sign of trouble.
Although admittedly, it probably would've been hard for any Admiral to
keep going at Midway after loosing 4 carriers.

Rgds, Frank
Anonymous
April 7, 2005 2:47:47 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <eib5e.697$YS1.260@fe02.lga>, bismarck71@charter.net says...
>
> Why do you belabor the Pzkw I when the workhorses of the Panzers in '40 were
> the 38(t) and early Mark IIIs? Your conclusions on doctrine are correct but
> undermined by emphasizing the Mk I.

A single mention of the useless Mark 1 in the quoted text and a single
reference to that in the additional commentary seems rather less than a
"belaboring" of the subject.

> Of course, I'm not sure where the quote starts and your thoughts begin.

I guess it was Eddy's careful inserting of the quoted material between
"- - - - start of post" and "- - - - - end of post" that threw you.


--
Giftzwerg
***
"The problem with the entire concept of 'international law'
is that it can ensnare a Tony Blair while never laying a
finger on a Saddam Hussein."
- Mark Steyn
Anonymous
April 7, 2005 8:26:27 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

"James Cobb" <bismarck71@charter.net> wrote in
news:eib5e.697$YS1.260@fe02.lga:

> Eddy,
>
> Why do you belabor the Pzkw I when the workhorses of the Panzers in
> '40 were the 38(t) and early Mark IIIs? Your conclusions on doctrine
> are correct but undermined by emphasizing the Mk I.

Ok - general, this is the situation : we've got around 3000 tanks of
which 627 are Pzkw III (and a few IV's) and 381 Tchech 38(t). The
overwhelming majority of tanks in your force are light Pzkw I and II's.

Opposing you are 3600 French tanks of which 800 are Char B's and Somua's
- each *better* than even your Pzkw III's, not even counting a couple of
hundred British Mathilda's which a fortune teller is predicting are
going to kick Rommel's butt in Arras.

"Pzkw I" is shorthand for "the German panzer force of 1940 was inferior
both in numbers and quality compared to the total Allied panzer force"

> Of course, I'm not sure where the quote starts and your thoughts
> begin.

Can't you tell where the rant starts ? :) 

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Anonymous
April 7, 2005 8:29:02 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

Frank E <fakeaddress@hotmail.com> wrote in
news:gE5VQvkRMNOXf9zSSgaSjtsLx=M7@4ax.com:


> HOI (2) handles this pretty well. The allied units might be better
> equiped but they also tend to be relatively brittle. That means they
> tend to get disorganized when you move them

Excuse me, but why do the fully mechanized professional BEF divisions
get "disorganized" when moving, but German conscript foot-sloggers with
horse-drawn logistics don't ?

> and they also end up being
> relatively brittle if they have to stand up to a prolonged attack.

Again, why if not to create "historical" results. Other "gamey" tricks
used by designers are "give all German units morale A and all French
units morale F".

The point I was trying to make is that "doctrine" and
"communications/reaction speed" and "staff quality" are what made the
difference - these factors are essentially the prerogative of the
player, hence don't get modelled in a wargame, hence designers have to
"handicap" the Allies in a-historical ways, hence my rant :) 

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Anonymous
April 7, 2005 11:41:22 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

> Although admittedly, it probably would've been hard for any Admiral to
> keep going at Midway after loosing 4 carriers.
>
> Rgds, Frank

You think?
Anonymous
April 7, 2005 11:48:23 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

> the point I was trying to make is that "doctrine" and
> "communications/reaction speed" and "staff quality" are what made the
> difference - these factors are essentially the prerogative of the
> player, hence don't get modelled in a wargame, hence designers have to
> "handicap" the Allies in a-historical ways, hence my rant :) 
>
> Greetz,
>
> Eddy Sterckx

Not including doctrine, I think you could easily come up with non-gamey
rules to handle the other two. Of course, doctrine is rather important.
I think here the game has to make sure it properly rewards the German
player who follows doctrine.
Anonymous
April 7, 2005 11:50:35 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <Xns9631BB9BA3495eddysterckxhotmailco@67.98.68.39>,
eddysterckx@hotmail.com says...

> Excuse me, but why do the fully mechanized professional BEF divisions
> get "disorganized" when moving, but German conscript foot-sloggers with
> horse-drawn logistics don't ?

Have you ever tried to start a 1971 MGB while your girlfriend is cold
and tired?

--
Giftzwerg
***
"The problem with the entire concept of 'international law'
is that it can ensnare a Tony Blair while never laying a
finger on a Saddam Hussein."
- Mark Steyn
Anonymous
April 8, 2005 3:37:07 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

Mike Kreuzer wrote:

> Minor quibbles:
> - Britain introduced conscription in May 39.
> - I don't know that a few carrier squadrons made the BEF "fully
mechanised",
> perhaps motorised would be a better description.

Motorized is correct - my bad - 8 full divisions of them.

> Modelling a lack of any
> British understanding of the use of combined arms prior to about
August 42
> isn't gamey, it's what makes playing the Brit army different to the
German
> one.

That's my problem really - as I'm supposed to be playing the commander
of the Allies I want to implement proper combined arms tactics.
A-historical : yes, but I'm so tired of having to fight a 1940 campaign
and being forced to implement a losing tactic/strategy. The Abbeville
and Arras counterattacks at least showed that the Allies had some
punch.

> Again, modelling the generally poor French morale at that start of
the
> campaign isn't gamey. If a game doesn't show that it's modelling
some sort
> of alternate universe.

Sitting around doing nothing from September 1939 to may 1940 will sap
the morale of every army. But pointing out bad French morale is a bit
dodgy, 1 serious German reversal and French morale can sore. The German
general staff was very nervous, 1 reversal and they might panick
completely. See, these things are *never* modeled in a campaign 1940
game. That's what I liked about the original post in
soc.history.what-if : a challenge to the commonly held view that the
Allies will lose the 1940 campaign.

> At some point of modelling
> alternatives a strategic game is going to stop being strategic and
become
> fairy tale, where that boundary is I suppose differs for different
gamers.

I like alternate history books, so my boundaries might not be what most
wargamers like or accept. I don't like the implausable (like the
Germans getting to London in a Bulge game), but I sure think the 1940
campaign outcome is not as cast in stone as some might believe.

> Interesting topic for discussion. :-)

Glad you liked it :) 

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Anonymous
April 8, 2005 4:46:28 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

eddysterckx@hotmail.com wrote:
> I think it could be made into a game enjoyable by both players -
sounds
> a lot like a game on the German conquest of the med, where would the
> joy for the Allies be in such a game :) 
>
> Greetz,
>
> Eddy Sterckx

Ouch!! :) 

At least the Allies have some real "ANZAC" soldiers to play with, mate!
;) 

Dave "Arjuna" O'Connor
Anonymous
April 8, 2005 6:04:53 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

Arjuna wrote:

> At least the Allies have some real "ANZAC" soldiers to play with,
mate!

hm, Anzac's in a Campaign 1940 game - interesting what-if - only, they
would have been *very* keen on executing the "Dyle river plan" as that
would secure the main breweries in Belgium and northern France. Only
snag : the Hoegaarden brewery in on the wrong side of the Dyle river so
a bridgehead might be needed there. Possible what-if scenario : a
German paradrop to secure this "vital" complex :) 

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Anonymous
April 8, 2005 9:20:39 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

Giftzwerg wrote:
> In a modern European history class back in my undergrad days, the
Prof
> (a Francophile...) was holding forth on the potential of the Dyle
River
> Plan, and a student from Holland dryly pointed out, "When you think
> about the Dyle, picture the Los Angeles River - not the Mississippi
> River."

A picture says more than a thousand words :

http://www.igo.be/dijleland/LandschapenNatuur/Landschap...

> Is the Meuse really this insignificant at the
> German crossing point(s)?

No, the Meuse is a *real* river

Meuse at Sedan :

http://www.lavaurs.com/en/spot/0531/07

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Anonymous
April 8, 2005 10:07:44 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

Giftzwerg wrote:
> In article <1112962839.202856.91900@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com>,
> eddysterckx@hotmail.com says...
>
> > > In a modern European history class back in my undergrad days, the
> > Prof
> > > (a Francophile...) was holding forth on the potential of the Dyle
> > River
> > > Plan, and a student from Holland dryly pointed out, "When you
think
> > > about the Dyle, picture the Los Angeles River - not the
Mississippi
> > > River."
> >
> > A picture says more than a thousand words :
> >
> > http://www.igo.be/dijleland/LandschapenNatuur/Landschap...
>
> <Texas accent>
>
> 'Round these parts, we call that a *creek*, son.
>
> </>

Even *we* don't call it a river - it's promoted for canoe trips where
you can take your children along in complete safety through poetic
landscapes. I first heard about that "Dyle river defense" in my
high-school years - part of the curriculum I suppose - problem was that
my high-school was in Louvain where the Dyle runs through ... Even the
teacher had this "look, I'm only telling you what's in the history
books, that they were going to plan to stop the Germans here - I don't
believe they were serious either". followed by some jokes about "great
military intelligence" , "pissing/tossing your little brother across"
and general hilarity. If you don't live in Louvain you'll even have a
hard time *finding* the Dyle there.

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Anonymous
April 8, 2005 12:39:51 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <1112962839.202856.91900@o13g2000cwo.googlegroups.com>,
eddysterckx@hotmail.com says...

> > In a modern European history class back in my undergrad days, the
> Prof
> > (a Francophile...) was holding forth on the potential of the Dyle
> River
> > Plan, and a student from Holland dryly pointed out, "When you think
> > about the Dyle, picture the Los Angeles River - not the Mississippi
> > River."
>
> A picture says more than a thousand words :
>
> http://www.igo.be/dijleland/LandschapenNatuur/Landschap...

<Texas accent>

'Round these parts, we call that a *creek*, son.

</>

> > Is the Meuse really this insignificant at the
> > German crossing point(s)?
>
> No, the Meuse is a *real* river
>
> Meuse at Sedan :
>
> http://www.lavaurs.com/en/spot/0531/07

Probably the film was just another painful example of how badly
producers of some documentaries are at mating historical footage with
the subject under discussion. My suspicion is that all they felt they
needed was, "film of German soldiers with rubber rafts".

--
Giftzwerg
***
"The problem with the entire concept of 'international law'
is that it can ensnare a Tony Blair while never laying a
finger on a Saddam Hussein."
- Mark Steyn
Anonymous
April 8, 2005 1:08:25 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

> The point I was trying to make is that "doctrine" and
> "communications/reaction speed" and "staff quality" are what made the
> difference - these factors are essentially the prerogative of the
> player, hence don't get modelled in a wargame, hence designers have to
> "handicap" the Allies in a-historical ways, hence my rant :) 

The problem, of course, is that Fr40 games are designed, as their name
suggests, on the preconception that the campaign will start on the German
border and finish somewhere in France.

As the German player in a Fr40 game, you anticipate guiding a high quality
force to an offensive victory. Your level of competence will be assessed on
the level of victory you achieve.

Similarly, as the Allied player, you accept that you will be presiding over
a defeat. The more skillful you are, the less of a defeat it will be but
you ARE going to lose.

What you are suggesting is a game that starts in May 1940 but where there
are just as many victory objectives in Germany as there are on the Atlantic
coast - a game that has as much chance of being about "Germany 1940" as it
has of being about France.

Cheers,

Andy
Anonymous
April 8, 2005 1:08:26 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <1112944913.793406.29500@l41g2000cwc.googlegroups.com>,
eddysterckx@hotmail.com says...

> Oh, no, not the Dyle river plan again - tomorrow I'm going to take
> pictures of this "mighty river" - pictures of me pissing across it -
> pictures of the hundreds of bridges crossing it so that once and for
> all this "Dyle river defensive plan" can be put to rest as the *worst*
> plan since Napoleon's "Why not attack Russia in the winter, that way we
> can ice-skate on the Moscawa" idea.

In a modern European history class back in my undergrad days, the Prof
(a Francophile...) was holding forth on the potential of the Dyle River
Plan, and a student from Holland dryly pointed out, "When you think
about the Dyle, picture the Los Angeles River - not the Mississippi
River."

And I was watching one of the episodes of Discovery's "Battleplan"
discussing blitzkrieg warfare, and there was some footage ostensibly of
the German crossing of the Meuse; the river looked about 20 feet wide.
You'd hardly need a carpenter of Jesus's skill to bridge that with a
goodly pile of boards. Is the Meuse really this insignificant at the
German crossing point(s)?

--
Giftzwerg
***
"The problem with the entire concept of 'international law'
is that it can ensnare a Tony Blair while never laying a
finger on a Saddam Hussein."
- Mark Steyn
Anonymous
April 8, 2005 1:18:13 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

"Eddy Sterckx" <eddysterckx@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:Xns9631BB9BA3495eddysterckxhotmailco@67.98.68.39...
> Frank E <fakeaddress@hotmail.com> wrote in
> news:gE5VQvkRMNOXf9zSSgaSjtsLx=M7@4ax.com:
>
>
>> HOI (2) handles this pretty well. The allied units might be better
>> equiped but they also tend to be relatively brittle. That means they
>> tend to get disorganized when you move them
>
> Excuse me, but why do the fully mechanized professional BEF divisions
> get "disorganized" when moving, but German conscript foot-sloggers with
> horse-drawn logistics don't ?

Minor quibbles:
- Britain introduced conscription in May 39.
- I don't know that a few carrier squadrons made the BEF "fully mechanised",
perhaps motorised would be a better description. Modelling a lack of any
British understanding of the use of combined arms prior to about August 42
isn't gamey, it's what makes playing the Brit army different to the German
one.

[From another post]
> Other "gamey" tricks
> used by designers are "give all German units morale A and all French
> units morale F".

Again, modelling the generally poor French morale at that start of the
campaign isn't gamey. If a game doesn't show that it's modelling some sort
of alternate universe. <shrug> Now, would French morale have collapsed
completely if Germany had launched the kind of frontal assault France was
expecting it to, instead of the unexpected breakthrough that occurred? Who
knows, your postulation's as good as mine. I happen to think France's
military and rotating civilian leadership badly overestimated the French
people's willingness to fight any kind of war in 39, the "shock" of
blitzkrieg was just a convenient excuse for them.

IMHO a realistic France 1940 game's always going to end with Germany holding
the whole continental bit of the board, just like the allies in any
reasonable Western Europe 44-45 game. Bulge or no Bulge, how many months it
takes for the allies to cross the Rhine should determine the level of
victory in 45, there's no point in including London as a German VP hex,
cause it isn't ever going to happen. Having Berlin as as allied objective
in 1940's in the same category of silliness. There are plenty of strategic
games that should have no _realistic_ chance for one side to win: Pacific
41-45's another, there should be no conceivable chance of a Japanese
dominated board at game end, it's just how long the US takes to hammer Japan
into particulate matter that counts. At some point of modelling
alternatives a strategic game is going to stop being strategic and become
fairy tale, where that boundary is I suppose differs for different gamers.
Interesting topic for discussion. :-)

Regards, Mike Kreuzer
Anonymous
April 8, 2005 6:14:41 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

>> Excuse me, but why do the fully mechanized professional BEF divisions
>> get "disorganized" when moving, but German conscript foot-sloggers with
>> horse-drawn logistics don't ?
>
> Have you ever tried to start a 1971 MGB while your girlfriend is cold
> and tired?

A lot of BEF trucks were just requisitioned commercial vehicles. So how
long do you think the local butcher's van will last in wartime conditions ?
Anonymous
April 8, 2005 7:47:26 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

> With my granddad having fought in the 1940 campaign and it all
> happening on the home turf so to speak, I'm particularly interested in
> it and have tried numerous scenarios for various game-engines, even
> boardgames on the subject - only to have been let down time and time
> again by setups/rules forcing me to act stupidly - which irks me - so
> the search for an "objective" 1940 campaign wargame continues ...

"Objective 1940 campaign wargame" - thanks for the marketing slogan! That
sounds a lot better than "TacOps WWII beer and pretzels mod". :) 

Best regards, Major H.
tacops@mac.com
http://www.battlefront.com/
Anonymous
April 9, 2005 2:58:06 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

> hm, Anzac's in a Campaign 1940 game - interesting what-if -

A New Zealand brigade group formed part of the anti-invasion forces in
southern England during the battle of Britain. They arrived post-Dunkirk,
however. They ended up going to the UK instead of Egypt because their
convoy was diverted by the apparent threat of Italian naval forces in the
Med.

Andy
Anonymous
April 9, 2005 12:24:16 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

> my high-school was in Louvain where the Dyle runs through ... Even the
> teacher had this "look, I'm only telling you what's in the history
> books, that they were going to plan to stop the Germans here - I don't
> believe they were serious either". followed by some jokes about "great
> military intelligence" , "pissing/tossing your little brother across"
> and general hilarity. If you don't live in Louvain you'll even have a
> hard time *finding* the Dyle there.

It's quite possible that the Dyle was chosen purely as a geographical
reference point to align the defence, rather than for any intrinsic
defensive value. It was as far into Belgium as the Anglo-French thought
they could reach and entrench before the Germans made contact.

Remember, it was all relatively un-planned. The prevailing military wisdom
was to get a continuous front established as far forward as possible.
Lining up along some easily identifiable line on a map was the easiest way
to do this and a half-full creek might at least be more of an obstacle than
a road or a railway.

Cheers,

Andy
Anonymous
April 9, 2005 12:24:17 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

"Andy Brown" <andybrown@somewhere.in.nz> wrote in
news:D 36p9d$75g$1@lust.ihug.co.nz:

>> my high-school was in Louvain where the Dyle runs through ... Even
>> the teacher had this "look, I'm only telling you what's in the
>> history books, that they were going to plan to stop the Germans here
>> - I don't believe they were serious either". followed by some jokes
>> about "great military intelligence" , "pissing/tossing your little
>> brother across" and general hilarity. If you don't live in Louvain
>> you'll even have a hard time *finding* the Dyle there.
>
> It's quite possible that the Dyle was chosen purely as a geographical
> reference point to align the defence, rather than for any intrinsic
> defensive value. It was as far into Belgium as the Anglo-French
> thought they could reach and entrench before the Germans made contact.
>
> Remember, it was all relatively un-planned. The prevailing military
> wisdom was to get a continuous front established as far forward as
> possible. Lining up along some easily identifiable line on a map was
> the easiest way to do this and a half-full creek might at least be
> more of an obstacle than a road or a railway.

Never thought of it that way - when gaming WWII you're really focussed
on the big rivers - Dnepr, Rhine, Oder, Meuse,... as defensive lines, so
when someone mentions the Dyle River (sic) plan you naturally start to
compare.

Off course, the thing you have to remember is that the Allies in 1940
were prepared to fight WWI all over again. Some staff officer probably
"calculated" the maximum German advance, the rate of advance of the
Allies swinging around the Ardennes hinge and at the location where they
where supposed to meet started looking for some sort of geographical
marker. Any "river" would do. Well, your explanation is the first one
that makes sense - I'll sleep better tonight now that that mystery is
solved :) 

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Anonymous
April 9, 2005 12:24:18 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <Xns963357254A007eddysterckxhotmailco@67.98.68.36>,
eddysterckx@hotmail.com says...

> > Remember, it was all relatively un-planned. The prevailing military
> > wisdom was to get a continuous front established as far forward as
> > possible. Lining up along some easily identifiable line on a map was
> > the easiest way to do this and a half-full creek might at least be
> > more of an obstacle than a road or a railway.
>
> Never thought of it that way - when gaming WWII you're really focussed
> on the big rivers - Dnepr, Rhine, Oder, Meuse,... as defensive lines, so
> when someone mentions the Dyle River (sic) plan you naturally start to
> compare.

And even these "big rivers" proved *far* less pugnacious as a defense
than conventional wisdom expected. Sooner or later - generally sooner -
a bridgehead appeared and ... that was that.


--
Giftzwerg
***
"The problem with the entire concept of 'international law'
is that it can ensnare a Tony Blair while never laying a
finger on a Saddam Hussein."
- Mark Steyn
Anonymous
April 11, 2005 6:03:30 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

Mike Kreuzer wrote:
> > Move the RAF to bases in France and the German air superiority is
gone
> > + the Germans would have to do combat over enemy held territory.
> >
>
> Ouch. Move the RAF bases to France and fighter command is gone, you
just
> gave away the whole show. There's a reason the Brits were
withholding
> fighter reinforcements from France.

Well, care to elaborate on a *military* reason (granted the political
ones) ? RAF fighters could have given the allies air superiority where
it mattered - such as in bombing a few bridges over the Meuse river ...
war is logistics. The combined air-fleets of the allies might have
wrestled total air superiority from the German Luftwaffe - would have
helped French morale too. The combined industries of France and the UK
were cranking out planes *faster* than the Germans. In a war of
attrition they'd win.

> > The French had a good reason for their strategy based on defense :
> > draft numbers -[snip]
>
> Sure, but the German general staff saw the same sort of numbers
problem,
> with their 100,00 man Versailles restrictions, and developed "fast
troops"
> as a response. Hey presto, panzers. Being outnumbered doesn't mean
> necessarily going on the defensive. Having a morale problem does ...

The Versailles treaty restrictions were political restrictions, not
physical - the French were going to be outnumbered *and* had no
offensive action in mind so enter the Maginot line defenses. Made
perfect sense at the time.

> > Some possible scenario's for Allied counterattacks : Arras and
> > Abbeville,
> > Perimeter defense and delaying actions for Dunkerque, Para-drops
over
> > Holland, some what-if's ...
> >
>
> What paras? First Brit jump training didn't start till July 1940 and
the
> largest airborne unit in 1940 would have been 2 Commando, about _500_
men
> strong by the _end_ of 1940. 1 Para Bde wasn't formed unitil 1941.

I meant *German* paradrops on Holland and the Belgian Eben-Emael
fortress - you can't have a campaign 1940 game and not have the Germans
attacking in one or two scenario's, can you :) 

> > I think it could be made into a game enjoyable by both players -
sounds
> > a lot like a game on the German conquest of the med, where would
the
> > joy for the Allies be in such a game :) 
>
> Now that would be a good game ... ;-) Finding battles where both
sides get
> to do a bit of attacking and defending, where the situation isn't
inherently
> boring or already done to death (Bulge again anyone?) isn't that
hard.
> Surely?

No, but developing an engine that can model it is :) 

See, the battlefield that would be my #1 preference for the engine to
go to is the Western Desert - going by the forum I'm not alone on this.
Seesaw action, both sides get to attack and defend, deception, fow, ...
it would be perfect <sigh>

But Arjuna has always chosen his battlefields in function of a gradual
feature-buildup of the Panther games engine i.e. for certain
battlefields certain aspects have to be modelled. For instance you
can't have a Western Desert game with an engine that can't model
logistics, minefields, an air component and large maps. As the engine
matures more and more possible battlefields become available - but the
buildup is gradual as resources are scarce, so my preference has to
give way for a more deliberate choice of battlefield.

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Anonymous
April 11, 2005 10:35:00 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

Giftzwerg wrote:

> This is hardly a foregone conclusion, though, and it bears mention
that
> underlying Eddy's whole point is the idea that the best way to argue
> this issue out is to design a game that allows a player to move those

> RAF assets, and see if they can have a decisive impact on the
scenario.

As usual you're much better at getting to the crux of the matter than I
am : fighting a campaign 1940 game with the historical constraints is
pretty pointless, the fun starts when you are *really* allowed to
explore the what-if's - both tactically and politically.

Everyone has this picture of the Germans strolling through France while
merrily whistling Lily Marlene and without meeting any serious
resistance, but the German casualty numbers speak differently : 46.000
KIA - on a monthly basis this was about half of the casualty rate of
the Russian Front (may/june 1942 : 30.000) - with only about 1/3 of the
amount of soldiers involved. Statistically speaking as a German soldier
serving only a 1-month tour-of-duty you would more likely get yourself
killed in the "walkover" campaign 1940 against France than on the
"killing fields" of Mother Russia. Something doesn't add up here ...

http://www.feldgrau.com/stats.html

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Anonymous
April 11, 2005 2:47:23 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <1113226500.749220.101080@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com>,
eddysterckx@hotmail.com says...

> Everyone has this picture of the Germans strolling through France while
> merrily whistling Lily Marlene and without meeting any serious
> resistance, but the German casualty numbers speak differently : 46.000
> KIA - on a monthly basis this was about half of the casualty rate of
> the Russian Front (may/june 1942 : 30.000) - with only about 1/3 of the
> amount of soldiers involved. Statistically speaking as a German soldier
> serving only a 1-month tour-of-duty you would more likely get yourself
> killed in the "walkover" campaign 1940 against France than on the
> "killing fields" of Mother Russia. Something doesn't add up here ...

The Allies in France '40 represent one of those odd-duck scenarios where
the whole fails to equal the sum of its parts.

From a viewpoint at the very top, the Allies were looking good; they had
more men, more tanks, more guns, more airplanes (in toto, though not in
theater, and perhaps not of the most useful types...) - and were clearly
going to fight a defensive war. And from a viewpoint at the very
bottom, the Allied soldier was capable and his equipment was first-rate
(as anyone who's ever desperately tried to knock off a Somua with his
37mm gun before the Frenchie pots his Mark III can attest...).

Somewhere in the middle - between the high command and the *poilus* -
something went big-time awry for the Allies. Games that try to
reproduce the historical operational results tend to reflect their
designers bias surrounding why *he* thinks the Allies lost so badly and
so quickly. One designer might think it was tank doctrine and give
Panzer divisions big advantages in combat and movement. Another
designer might believe it was the Luftwaffe that was the difference, and
build-in advantages for the German air force. Another might credit
mobility and strategic surprise, and put the Allies in a tough spot
responding to movement through the Ardennes.

Of course, it's at least *possible* that the whole thing was a fluke,
and then we've got big problems game-design wise. Trying to "chase
reality" and produce a game that repeatably delivers the historical
results *when the historical result was a fluke* is a major flaw in a
good many game designs.

I always use Midway as an example of this. The Japanese should have won
that battle. Or, to express it better, it's a fluke that they ended up
losing that battle so one-sidedly.

Now, suppose we're game designers, and we build a carrier wargame; we
model the ships, the planes, the situation, the training, etc. We make
the best, most accurate system we can, and we start playtesting.

What happens if the result of testing our system is that the Japanese
win the Battle of Midway 90% of the time? Does it suggest anything is
invalid in our design? Moreover, do we *change* our design until the
most likely result is the historical one?

This is my point about France '40; it's *possible* that a German win of
the historical magnitude was the equivalent of tossing a coin and having
it land on-edge. If that's remotely true, then a lot of France '40
games have been badly misdesigned.

--
Giftzwerg
***
"The problem with the entire concept of 'international law'
is that it can ensnare a Tony Blair while never laying a
finger on a Saddam Hussein."
- Mark Steyn
Anonymous
April 11, 2005 3:53:27 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

> That's my problem really - as I'm supposed to be playing the commander
> of the Allies I want to implement proper combined arms tactics.

Well, Monty, for all his many, many faults changed allied armour doctrine
more or less single handed if you believe his hagiographers, so I suppose
it's realistic in some sense for a player to do this. How effective those
changes would have been if you tried to implement them as a new French (or
allied) commander in May 1940 though ... if you're saying 'but I was
commander since 1935', well then it's a different game altogether, different
counters, potentially different map, it's just not France 1940 any more.

> A-historical : yes, but I'm so tired of having to fight a 1940 campaign
> and being forced to implement a losing tactic/strategy. The Abbeville
> and Arras counterattacks at least showed that the Allies had some
> punch.
>

But what did those punches really achieve? It's sort of like saying
implementing a different strategy the south could have won the American
civil war, to add another example to the list of
unwinnable-but-interesting-to-play wars I already listed. Perhaps they too
could have lasted longer than they did, but it's inconceivable they could
have "won". Further successes would have just meant further northern
mobilisation, etc.

Further counterattacks of the kind at Arras would have done what? Unless
you totally restructure the French army first, (or industrialise the south
years before the civil war), and in your 1940 reorganisation somehow evades
the huge drop in efficiency resulting from everyone tries to work out what
your new master plan is, those counter attacks were by all the units that
could counter attack. It's not that the commanders didn't want to counter
attack, it's that most of the troops couldn't or wouldn't. Sending those
few units in again (and again) would have only meant a slight decrease in
the number of training tanks the allies get to fight against in 1944, not a
lot more. I'm a lot more pessimistic about the state of over all French
morale than you are, so I see less possibilities for any kind of effective
action.

In fact, by way of alternatives, a more full blooded French strategy in
1940, with commensurately higher French casualties, could just have meant
more willingness to collaborate, and nasty blow back like the defection
intact of the French fleet. The loss the allies ended up with historically
wasn't the worst possible one imaginable.

>> Again, modelling the generally poor French morale at that start of
> the
>> campaign isn't gamey. If a game doesn't show that it's modelling
> some sort
>> of alternate universe.
>
> Sitting around doing nothing from September 1939 to may 1940 will sap
> the morale of every army.

I didn't see it sap German morale, and what about those Brit troops you
think were the crème de la crème? ;-)

> But pointing out bad French morale is a bit
> dodgy, 1 serious German reversal and French morale can sore. The German
> general staff was very nervous, 1 reversal and they might panick
> completely. See, these things are *never* modeled in a campaign 1940
> game. That's what I liked about the original post in
> soc.history.what-if : a challenge to the commonly held view that the
> Allies will lose the 1940 campaign.
>

Yes sure, there were lots of doubters about the narrowness of the
breakthrough, so conceivably there could have been a more timid German
reaction to events, but saying that French morale would as a result improve
.... maybe. Just seems very, very unlikely given the actual events. Of
course, I'd play the damn game, anyway, disagreeing with the methodology's
half the fun. :-)

Regards, Mike Kreuzer
Anonymous
April 11, 2005 3:54:50 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

> Move the RAF to bases in France and the German air superiority is gone
> + the Germans would have to do combat over enemy held territory.
>

Ouch. Move the RAF bases to France and fighter command is gone, you just
gave away the whole show. There's a reason the Brits were withholding
fighter reinforcements from France.

[Dyle River stuff deleted. Interesting to see the photos though, that's not
what I'd call a river. :-)]

> The French had a good reason for their strategy based on defense :
> draft numbers -[snip]

Sure, but the German general staff saw the same sort of numbers problem,
with their 100,00 man Versailles restrictions, and developed "fast troops"
as a response. Hey presto, panzers. Being outnumbered doesn't mean
necessarily going on the defensive. Having a morale problem does ...

> Some possible scenario's for Allied counterattacks : Arras and
> Abbeville,
> Perimeter defense and delaying actions for Dunkerque, Para-drops over
> Holland, some what-if's ...
>

What paras? First Brit jump training didn't start till July 1940 and the
largest airborne unit in 1940 would have been 2 Commando, about _500_ men
strong by the _end_ of 1940. 1 Para Bde wasn't formed unitil 1941.

> I think it could be made into a game enjoyable by both players - sounds
> a lot like a game on the German conquest of the med, where would the
> joy for the Allies be in such a game :) 

Now that would be a good game ... ;-) Finding battles where both sides get
to do a bit of attacking and defending, where the situation isn't inherently
boring or already done to death (Bulge again anyone?) isn't that hard.
Surely?

Regards, Mike Kreuzer
Anonymous
April 11, 2005 3:54:51 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <4259d91e@dnews.tpgi.com.au>, INITIAL+SURNAME@tpg.com.au
says...

> > Move the RAF to bases in France and the German air superiority is gone
> > + the Germans would have to do combat over enemy held territory.

> Ouch. Move the RAF bases to France and fighter command is gone, you just
> gave away the whole show. There's a reason the Brits were withholding
> fighter reinforcements from France.

This is hardly a foregone conclusion, though, and it bears mention that
underlying Eddy's whole point is the idea that the best way to argue
this issue out is to design a game that allows a player to move those
RAF assets, and see if they can have a decisive impact on the scenario.

If you're right, then the RAF units will be destroyed, the campaign will
not be affected, and the German player will get an additional screenful
of VPs for "With the RAF destroyed in France, Sea Lion succeeds, and
Britain sues for peace." If Eddy's right, then Luftwaffe air
superiority will be broken in many key areas and they'll never achieve
the effect they had on this historical campaign, perhaps causing the
whole German advance to stumble to a halt.

--
Giftzwerg
***
"The problem with the entire concept of 'international law'
is that it can ensnare a Tony Blair while never laying a
finger on a Saddam Hussein."
- Mark Steyn
Anonymous
April 11, 2005 9:09:16 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

Giftzwerg <giftzwerg999@NOSPAMZ.hotmail.com> wrote in
news:MPG.1cc458053351a05998a271@news-east.giganews.com:

> Of course, it's at least *possible* that the whole thing was a fluke,
> and then we've got big problems game-design wise. Trying to "chase
> reality" and produce a game that repeatably delivers the historical
> results *when the historical result was a fluke* is a major flaw in a
> good many game designs.

Couldn't agree more - however, what I expect of a game (historical
accuracy, not historical outcome per se) probably isn't mainstream
enough - even in the limited wargame world.

I can just see "Midway" designers scratching their head when they first
realize that the historical result was a fluke :) 

> Moreover, do we *change* our design until the
> most likely result is the historical one?

I'm affraid that's *exactly* the road they'll take - there's no
indication of the opposite. Weird really as everyone seems to love what-
if scenario's.

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Anonymous
April 11, 2005 9:09:17 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <Xns9635C0EB18E23eddysterckxhotmailco@67.98.68.13>,
eddysterckx@hotmail.com says...

> > Moreover, do we *change* our design until the
> > most likely result is the historical one?
>
> I'm affraid that's *exactly* the road they'll take - there's no
> indication of the opposite. Weird really as everyone seems to love what-
> if scenario's.

I often wonder how a wargame designer handles something we could call
"The Gene Tenace Effect."

Gene Tenace was a more-or-less average baseball player back in the
1970s. He probably batted about .250 for a lifetime, and hit maybe 25
home runs in a good season. In 1972, he was backup catcher for the
Oakland A's, and hit a hilariously anemic .059[1] in the American League
Championship Series. He was lucky to come to the plate at all in the
World Series. Yet the 1972 series could easily be re-titled, "The Gene
Tenace Show." He homered four times and drove in almost 60% of the
total runs the A's got.

But if you're a game designer, which "Gene Tenace" do you model if
you're building "World Series 1972?" The Gene Tenace who hit .225 and
only hit 5 home runs all year? Or the Gene Tenace who for a brief
period was hitting home runs every five at-bats?

To reliably reproduce *historical* results, you'd have to model "Gene-
Tenace-The-Series-Most-Valuable-Player." To reliably reproduce the
*reasonable* results, you'd have to model "Gene-Tenace-Who-Was-Only-
Playing-Because-Dave-Duncan-Was-Injured."

That's something that nags at me when I see a game designer handling
historical results that I suspect are at the fringes of probability;
France '40, Midway, Wavell/Cyrenaica '40, Gazala '42, Bagration...

I think we have to look very carefully at some of these. Sometimes we
find flaws in expectations that result in re-thinking the whole affair
with new information.

For example, in 1991, conventional wisdom held that driving Saddam out
of Kuwait was going to be a very bloody affair. The historical result,
on the other hand, was a lopsided victory with very few Coalition
casualties. Looking back in hindsight, I think we would all simply
conclude that conventional wisdom was wrong, the expected results were
in error, and the Iraqis were *far* weaker in every respect than
originally suspected. So when we contemplate the design of a game, we
simply model Iraqi soldiers as much worse than British Soldiers, Iraqi
T-62s as much worse than American M1s, and Iraqi air defenses as
significantly less effective than they appeared "on paper."

But what about Midway? What adjustments can we make there such that the
game reliably reproduces a stunningly lopsided USN victory? We didn't
discover any fundamental weaknesses in Japanese training, or ships, or
airplanes, or strategy. Which IJN do we model? The one with more
carriers, more planes, more pilots, better trained pilots, more
effective weapons, longer range, bigger guns, and tremendous momentum?
Or the IJN that lost its whole carrier fleet and 95% of its pilots in a
few hours?

??


[1] For non-.usians, that means he got a hit only about 5% of the time.
Twenty-ish percent (.200) is generally considered the low end of
acceptable for a major-league ballplayer.

--
Giftzwerg
***
"The problem with the entire concept of 'international law'
is that it can ensnare a Tony Blair while never laying a
finger on a Saddam Hussein."
- Mark Steyn
Anonymous
April 11, 2005 9:09:17 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

On 11 Apr 2005 17:09:16 GMT, Eddy Sterckx <eddysterckx@hotmail.com>
wrote:

>Giftzwerg <giftzwerg999@NOSPAMZ.hotmail.com> wrote in
>news:MPG.1cc458053351a05998a271@news-east.giganews.com:
>
>> Of course, it's at least *possible* that the whole thing was a fluke,
>> and then we've got big problems game-design wise. Trying to "chase
>> reality" and produce a game that repeatably delivers the historical
>> results *when the historical result was a fluke* is a major flaw in a
>> good many game designs.
>> Moreover, do we *change* our design until the
>> most likely result is the historical one?
>
>I'm affraid that's *exactly* the road they'll take - there's no
>indication of the opposite. Weird really as everyone seems to love what-
>if scenario's.

Would be nice if the engine could have some option, to allow either
(a) accurate historical setup and game mechanics to let the players
see how it plays out, or (b) built-in bias toward the historical
outcome, for players who prefer that road.

Personally I think I'd most often choose the accurate setup and
simulation, and let me see what I could do with that - especially if
the game would allow some customized setups to play out what-if
scenarios - but I guess some folks might just want the thing to run on
railroad tracks toward the historical outcome.

John
Anonymous
April 13, 2005 1:37:05 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

> Coalition troops who make a frontal, fixing assault while the "panzer"
> force - which thanks to fow was moved a couple of hundred miles west -

Moving a modern Army of 10 division equivalents "a couple of hundred miles
west" is not an easy thing to do ...

> As I said, a good, solid plan, but hardly "brilliant" given the
> alternatives -

.... and, if not brilliant, certainly wasn't "solidly" considered by the
Iraqis who were caught facing the wrong way.
Anonymous
April 13, 2005 1:37:06 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <d3hf2b$4cr$1@lust.ihug.co.nz>, andybrown@somewhere.in.nz
says...

> > Coalition troops who make a frontal, fixing assault while the "panzer"
> > force - which thanks to fow was moved a couple of hundred miles west -
>
> Moving a modern Army of 10 division equivalents "a couple of hundred miles
> west" is not an easy thing to do ...

It's additionally illuminating to note that this Army-sized move was
accomplished not only under the prying eyes of the enemy, but in the
fact of global scrutiny on the part of the collective news media - the
lion's share of which were at least implicitly allowed into the
Coalition "fold."


--
Giftzwerg
***
"The problem with the entire concept of 'international law'
is that it can ensnare a Tony Blair while never laying a
finger on a Saddam Hussein."
- Mark Steyn
Anonymous
April 13, 2005 1:37:07 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

Giftzwerg <giftzwerg999@NOSPAMZ.hotmail.com> wrote in
news:MPG.1cc6262cbfe6fc9f98a276@news-east.giganews.com:

> In article <d3hf2b$4cr$1@lust.ihug.co.nz>, andybrown@somewhere.in.nz
> says...
>
>> > Coalition troops who make a frontal, fixing assault while the
>> > "panzer" force - which thanks to fow was moved a couple of hundred
>> > miles west -
>>
>> Moving a modern Army of 10 division equivalents "a couple of hundred
>> miles west" is not an easy thing to do ...
>
> It's additionally illuminating to note that this Army-sized move was
> accomplished not only under the prying eyes of the enemy,

Beg to differ here - The Iraqi's didn't have satellites, nor recce
planes - all their info came from what human eyes could observe from
their trenches. That and CNN :)  So IRL the "panzer" divisions first
demonstrated in front of them before shifting west, fooling Iraqi
intelligence.

Again, not saying that the plan was bad and hats off for the logistical
feat of shifting an entire corps a couple of hundred kilometers west,
but the plan itself was pretty simple.

> but in the
> fact of global scrutiny on the part of the collective news media - the
> lion's share of which were at least implicitly allowed into the
> Coalition "fold."

That's the beauty of "embedded" journalists - you (as the army) can
controll what they see and when they can report, while the journalists
still have their "scoops" and pretty pictures - most important lesson
learned in the Vietnam war.

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Anonymous
April 13, 2005 4:19:48 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

"Giftzwerg" <giftzwerg999@NOSPAMZ.hotmail.com> wrote in message
{snip}
> The Allies in France '40 represent one of those odd-duck scenarios where
> the whole fails to equal the sum of its parts.

{snip re tactical advantages Allies had}

{snip re reasons allies lost}

> Of course, it's at least *possible* that the whole thing was a fluke,
> and then we've got big problems game-design wise. Trying to "chase
> reality" and produce a game that repeatably delivers the historical
> results *when the historical result was a fluke* is a major flaw in a
> good many game designs.

The defeat of France wasn't a fluke though, it was down to sound operational
planning/lunatic gamble (depending on how risky you think Mensteins plan
was) which involved achieving operational surprise through feints and
deception, the Germans did something unexpected whilst their feint fitted in
with th allied view of how operations would unfold. This is extremely hard
to simulate in wargames unless you can model limited intelligence, fog of
war and the logistic limitations on changing the operations plans of large
formations. With the benefit of hindsight, no sane allied player is going to
leave the Meuse defended by a few category B infanty divisions, so it is
going to be very hard to model the invasion and the poor old wargamer is
left trying to come up with something original and brilliant to better the
original plan. The approach to modelling the campaign in AHGCs 'France 1940'
was to include a scenario called the idiots game - it forced the allies to
spend the first two turns of the game implementing the Dyle Plan regardless
of what the Germans were doing, this was a simple workaround for what was
otherwise a full intelligence open game. After two turns of advancing
northeast, the allies were left with an unrecoverable gap in the their
centre and a dreadful operational situation which not even Alexander the
Great could have saved, assuming the Germans had bothered to send some
mobile forces towards the gap. At a tactical level the Germans may have had
a slight edge, but not enough to determine the outcome of the campaign.

> I always use Midway as an example of this. The Japanese should have won
> that battle. Or, to express it better, it's a fluke that they ended up
> losing that battle so one-sidedly.

Sure, Midway is a fascinating scenario to design games around, however it
was essentially a tactical engagement, not an extensively pre-planned
campaign like France 1940 (well, it was to a degree I suppose....). Exactly
the same problems confront game designers in trying to do realistic
simulations of e.g. the Austerlitz campaign, the war of 1866 or even
Cannae - they all involve envelopments which are regarded as examples of
military genius, but were essentially due to sound planning and surprise,
something it is very hard to simulate in wargames in the absence of military
level computerised game support and dozens of players.

Cheers
Martin
Anonymous
April 13, 2005 4:19:49 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <d3iv8l$l2h$1@hermes.shef.ac.uk>, m.rapier@shef.ac.uk says...

> > Of course, it's at least *possible* that the whole thing was a fluke,
> > and then we've got big problems game-design wise. Trying to "chase
> > reality" and produce a game that repeatably delivers the historical
> > results *when the historical result was a fluke* is a major flaw in a
> > good many game designs.
>
> The defeat of France wasn't a fluke though, it was down to sound operational
> planning/lunatic gamble (depending on how risky you think Mensteins plan
> was) which involved achieving operational surprise through feints and
> deception, the Germans did something unexpected whilst their feint fitted in
> with th allied view of how operations would unfold. This is extremely hard
> to simulate in wargames unless you can model limited intelligence, fog of
> war and the logistic limitations on changing the operations plans of large
> formations. With the benefit of hindsight, no sane allied player is going to
> leave the Meuse defended by a few category B infanty divisions, so it is
> going to be very hard to model the invasion and the poor old wargamer is
> left trying to come up with something original and brilliant to better the
> original plan. The approach to modelling the campaign in AHGCs 'France 1940'
> was to include a scenario called the idiots game - it forced the allies to
> spend the first two turns of the game implementing the Dyle Plan regardless
> of what the Germans were doing, this was a simple workaround for what was
> otherwise a full intelligence open game. After two turns of advancing
> northeast, the allies were left with an unrecoverable gap in the their
> centre and a dreadful operational situation which not even Alexander the
> Great could have saved, assuming the Germans had bothered to send some
> mobile forces towards the gap. At a tactical level the Germans may have had
> a slight edge, but not enough to determine the outcome of the campaign.

Well, that's exactly what I'm expressing by calling the historical
outcome a fluke; out of all the possible strategies for defending
France, the Allies managed to pick a plan that's so utterly insane that
the only way a game designer can induce a player to adopt it is to *rule
that he must use it*. If a player based his defensive strategy on
pouring his counters onto the board and fighting them from wherever they
happened to fall, he could not do significantly worse than the Allies.

> > I always use Midway as an example of this. The Japanese should have won
> > that battle. Or, to express it better, it's a fluke that they ended up
> > losing that battle so one-sidedly.
>
> Sure, Midway is a fascinating scenario to design games around, however it
> was essentially a tactical engagement, not an extensively pre-planned
> campaign like France 1940 (well, it was to a degree I suppose....). Exactly
> the same problems confront game designers in trying to do realistic
> simulations of e.g. the Austerlitz campaign, the war of 1866 or even
> Cannae - they all involve envelopments which are regarded as examples of
> military genius, but were essentially due to sound planning and surprise,
> something it is very hard to simulate in wargames in the absence of military
> level computerised game support and dozens of players.

Why is it hard to simulate sound planning and surprise in a wargame?

--
Giftzwerg
***
"The problem with the entire concept of 'international law'
is that it can ensnare a Tony Blair while never laying a
finger on a Saddam Hussein."
- Mark Steyn
Anonymous
April 13, 2005 10:13:05 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

Giftzwerg <giftzwerg999@NOSPAMZ.hotmail.com> wrote in
news:MPG.1cc7200e5b31f85e98a279@news-east.giganews.com:

> In article <Xns9637B6BC1ED7Feddysterckxhotmailco@216.143.170.13>,
> eddysterckx@hotmail.com says...
>
>> > Yeah, but does a plan have to meet some standard of complexity to
>> > be thought of as "brilliant?" It's been my experience that the
>> brilliance
>> > of a plan usually varies in inverse proportion to its complexity.
>>
>> Agreed, in essence I was only commenting on the fact that some
>> observers / book writers / commenters somehow think it was the finest
>> plan ever and that it took a team of rocket scientist level military
>> geniuses to come up with it.
>
> A good many observers in the news media were trapped by their own
> ignorant rhetoric; what could explain the lightning victory *except* a
> stunningly brilliant plan, worthy of MacArthur himself?
>
> It couldn't be the superiority of Coalition troops; the media had been
> patiently explaining for six months that Iraqi soldiers were battle-
> hardened veterans and our guys were weekend warriors.
>
> It couldn't be the superiority of Coalition weapons; the media had
> been patiently explaining for six months that Iraq had all the latest
> Soviet air defenses, tanks, warplanes ... oh, and by the way, the M1
> is an untested gas-guzzler and the AH-64 can't operate in desert
> conditions [1].
>
> It couldn't be the weeks of continual, relentless attrition inflicted
> on the helpless Iraqi military by Coalition air supremacy; the media
> had been patiently explaining for six weeks that airpower hadn't won
> wars in the past, our guys weren't hitting anything, and all those
> gun-camera shots weren't indicative of anything interesting.[1]
>
> No, it had to be a brilliant plan; after telling us over and over
> again that a bloody frontal assault was the only way to eject Saddam
> from Kuwait, the only way the press could avoid looking like morons -
> to *themselves* - was to project supernatural brilliance onto a well-
> executed, well-planned, well-prepared military exercise.

Media moron damage controll - best explanation yet :)  - makes even more
sense re-reading it. Thanks for clearing that up.

[Dyle river plan *and* the "brilliant" left hook - all cleared up in one
week - not a bad score for an "obsolete" ng :)  ]

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Anonymous
April 14, 2005 10:33:19 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

On 07 Apr 2005 16:29:02 GMT, Eddy Sterckx <eddysterckx@hotmail.com>
wrote:

>Frank E <fakeaddress@hotmail.com> wrote in
>news:gE5VQvkRMNOXf9zSSgaSjtsLx=M7@4ax.com:
>
>
>> HOI (2) handles this pretty well. The allied units might be better
>> equiped but they also tend to be relatively brittle. That means they
>> tend to get disorganized when you move them
>
>Excuse me, but why do the fully mechanized professional BEF divisions
>get "disorganized" when moving, but German conscript foot-sloggers with
>horse-drawn logistics don't ?

Sorry for the delay in responding, I've been out of town for a week.

I dunno but it seems to model what happened in real life pretty well.
Afaik, the French (and BEF to a lesser extent) did get into trouble
for exactly that reason.

>> and they also end up being
>> relatively brittle if they have to stand up to a prolonged attack.
>
>Again, why if not to create "historical" results.

I don't get your point here. It's a game where one counter can stand
for over 100,00 men. In a historical wargame, the whole point is to
come as close as you can to creating a historical model with a couple
of variable.

>Other "gamey" tricks
>used by designers are "give all German units morale A and all French
>units morale F".
>
>The point I was trying to make is that "doctrine" and
>"communications/reaction speed" and "staff quality" are what made the
>difference - these factors are essentially the prerogative of the
>player, hence don't get modelled in a wargame, hence designers have to
>"handicap" the Allies in a-historical ways, hence my rant :) 

What I was pointing out is something that's internal to one (sub)unit.
It's simulating the "doctrine" and "communications/reaction speed"
and "staff quality" up from a squad level to the corps level which is
the unit of maneuver for HOI2. Either you have these variable to try
and model how the units performed in real life, or you have generic
3-3 counters like you do in 3rd Reich.

Rgds, Frank
Anonymous
April 14, 2005 2:34:36 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

<eddysterckx@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:1113226500.749220.101080@g14g2000cwa.googlegroups.com...
>
> Giftzwerg wrote:
>
>> This is hardly a foregone conclusion, though, and it bears mention
> that
>> underlying Eddy's whole point is the idea that the best way to argue
>> this issue out is to design a game that allows a player to move those
>
>> RAF assets, and see if they can have a decisive impact on the
> scenario.
>
> As usual you're much better at getting to the crux of the matter than I
> am : fighting a campaign 1940 game with the historical constraints is
> pretty pointless, the fun starts when you are *really* allowed to
> explore the what-if's - both tactically and politically.

[snip]
I don't know, I think you're pretty cruxy at times. :-)

It only just occurred to me, are these comments about games giving the
French morale F and the Germans morale A directed at the recent HPS game? I
remember reading that you were looking forward to getting it, but don't
remember seeing you write about it. How is it?

Regards, Mike Kreuzer
Anonymous
April 14, 2005 2:34:37 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

"Mike Kreuzer" <INITIAL+SURNAME@tpg.com.au> wrote in
news:425dbad2@dnews.tpgi.com.au:

> It only just occurred to me, are these comments about games giving the
> French morale F and the Germans morale A directed at the recent HPS
> game?

Must be pure coincidence - it's more likely my subconscious grabbed
those alphabetic characters from a boardgame.

But intrigued now : is that the way HPS went ? - must check out some
screenshots / reviews.

> I remember reading that you were looking forward to getting it,
> but don't remember seeing you write about it. How is it?

Didn't get it yet - too many irons in the fire right now (COTA, GGWaW) -
I still didn't really explore Civil War - Bull Run and I've got that one
for over a month now. I'll keep the HPS game in mind for a more quiet
period, but given the tidal wave of announcements and releases lately
that might be 2016.

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Anonymous
April 14, 2005 2:34:37 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

"Mike Kreuzer" <INITIAL+SURNAME@tpg.com.au> wrote in
news:425dbad2@dnews.tpgi.com.au:

> It only just occurred to me, are these comments about games giving the
> French morale F and the Germans morale A directed at the recent HPS
> game? I remember reading that you were looking forward to getting it,
> but don't remember seeing you write about it. How is it?

Ok - went to the HPS site - very first screenshot is centered on
Maastricht

http://www.hpssims.com/Pages/products/PZC/PZC_france40/...

Whaddayouknow - the Belgian companies are indeed morale "F" :)  - might
be historically correct :) 

And there are 10 Belgian villages/cities in that screenshot of which
only 5 are spelled wrongly. [yeah, I know I've been wrong about this
sort of thing before, but this time I've triple-checked :)  ]

Sutndael -> Zutendaal
Osgrimby -> Opgrimbie
Lanakaen -> Lanaken
Riempst -> Riemst
Tongres -> Tongeren

Check it out yourself at http://www.mappy.be for the doubters :) 

Well, that sort of thing is easily fixed by editing the map file but the
morale thing is really bugging me as another screenshot shows French
armour as morale "D". This all indicates a game that will let you play
out the Campaign 1940 within the fixed historical constraints. Nothing
wrong with that, just not what I'm looking for - played too much of this
type of games already.

Found no reviews of the game yet, but the designer notes are a *very*
interesting read :

http://fly.hiwaay.net/
~tiller/glenn/france/france_notes/Notes/I_Design_Notes.htm

From these notes :

"The French Army was mostly rated at Level C Quality for the Regular
units to Level E Quality for the reserve units in the 2nd and 9th
Armies. There are a few exceptional units such as the French Foreign
Legion and a few Leaders that have higher quality ratings. These ratings
were required if the game was to replicate the complete dislocation of
the Front at Sedan. However, I feel strongly these French Quality
ratings do not truly reflect the value of particular units but certain
adjustments in the Quality ratings were required to make possible the
historical outcome of the Campaign if historical events are followed"

Says it all really,

Greetz,

Eddy Sterckx
Anonymous
April 14, 2005 2:34:38 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

"Eddy Sterckx" <eddysterckx@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:Xns96387F363AB75eddysterckxhotmailco@67.98.68.28...
> "Mike Kreuzer" <INITIAL+SURNAME@tpg.com.au> wrote in
> news:425dbad2@dnews.tpgi.com.au:
>
>> It only just occurred to me, are these comments about games giving the
>> French morale F and the Germans morale A directed at the recent HPS
>> game? I remember reading that you were looking forward to getting it,
>> but don't remember seeing you write about it. How is it?
>
> Ok - went to the HPS site - very first screenshot is centered on
> Maastricht
>
> http://www.hpssims.com/Pages/products/PZC/PZC_france40/...
>
> Whaddayouknow - the Belgian companies are indeed morale "F" :)  - might
> be historically correct :) 
>
> And there are 10 Belgian villages/cities in that screenshot of which
> only 5 are spelled wrongly. [yeah, I know I've been wrong about this
> sort of thing before, but this time I've triple-checked :)  ]
>
> Sutndael -> Zutendaal
> Osgrimby -> Opgrimbie
> Lanakaen -> Lanaken
> Riempst -> Riemst
> Tongres -> Tongeren
>
> Check it out yourself at http://www.mappy.be for the doubters :) 
>
> Well, that sort of thing is easily fixed by editing the map file but the
> morale thing is really bugging me as another screenshot shows French
> armour as morale "D". This all indicates a game that will let you play
> out the Campaign 1940 within the fixed historical constraints. Nothing
> wrong with that, just not what I'm looking for - played too much of this
> type of games already.
>
> Found no reviews of the game yet, but the designer notes are a *very*
> interesting read :
>
> http://fly.hiwaay.net/
> ~tiller/glenn/france/france_notes/Notes/I_Design_Notes.htm
>
> From these notes :
>
> "The French Army was mostly rated at Level C Quality for the Regular
> units to Level E Quality for the reserve units in the 2nd and 9th
> Armies. There are a few exceptional units such as the French Foreign
> Legion and a few Leaders that have higher quality ratings. These ratings
> were required if the game was to replicate the complete dislocation of
> the Front at Sedan. However, I feel strongly these French Quality
> ratings do not truly reflect the value of particular units but certain
> adjustments in the Quality ratings were required to make possible the
> historical outcome of the Campaign if historical events are followed"
>
> Says it all really,
>
> Greetz,
>
> Eddy Sterckx

Fixed status and quality are easily changed in the editors.
Anonymous
April 14, 2005 2:34:38 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <Xns96387F363AB75eddysterckxhotmailco@67.98.68.28>,
eddysterckx@hotmail.com says...

> http://fly.hiwaay.net/
> ~tiller/glenn/france/france_notes/Notes/I_Design_Notes.htm
>
> From these notes :
>
> "The French Army was mostly rated at Level C Quality for the Regular
> units to Level E Quality for the reserve units in the 2nd and 9th
> Armies. There are a few exceptional units such as the French Foreign
> Legion and a few Leaders that have higher quality ratings. These ratings
> were required if the game was to replicate the complete dislocation of
> the Front at Sedan. However, I feel strongly these French Quality
> ratings do not truly reflect the value of particular units but certain
> adjustments in the Quality ratings were required to make possible the
> historical outcome of the Campaign if historical events are followed"
>
> Says it all really,

From our perspective, it's The Smoking Gun; the designer has indeed
"chased history" by assigning an ahistorically-low morale factor to the
entire French Army. Lovely.[1]

Makes your point quite nicely for you.

All this talk of fudging things in the name of historical results (or
play-balance, its opposite number...) has me recalling Kurt Vonnegut's
short story, "Harrison Bergeron."

http://instruct.westvalley.edu/lafave/hb.html

[1] Perhaps the HPS "Midway" game will whittle Japanese bombs down to
50 lbs. or so, just so <wink> the game will follow a "historical
outcome."

--
Giftzwerg
***
"Most Republicans skipped the hearing, leaving Democrats largely
unchallenged as they assailed Bolton's knack for making enemies
and disparaging the very organization he would serve."
- Dana Milbank, Washington Post

"Uh, Dana? I'm pretty sure the organization Mr. Bolton is supposed
to be serving is *America*."
- Giftzwerg
Anonymous
April 14, 2005 2:38:07 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

"Giftzwerg" <giftzwerg999@NOSPAMZ.hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:MPG.1cc48af016226598a272@news-east.giganews.com...
[interesting stuff snipped]

> But what about Midway? What adjustments can we make there such that the
> game reliably reproduces a stunningly lopsided USN victory? We didn't
> discover any fundamental weaknesses in Japanese training, or ships, or
> airplanes, or strategy. Which IJN do we model? The one with more
> carriers, more planes, more pilots, better trained pilots, more
> effective weapons, longer range, bigger guns, and tremendous momentum?
> Or the IJN that lost its whole carrier fleet and 95% of its pilots in a
> few hours?

It's not really my field, but I thought the US was reading the Japanese
naval code in pretty much real time long before Midway. To model Midway
you'd have to:
1. tell the Japanese player that moves are conducted secretly &
simultaneously.
2. show the US player the Japanese player's moves and let him adjust his
accordingly.
3. Sit back and watch and historical result pop up pretty much every time.

Don't get me wrong, I see what you guys are saying. I think there's a tight
rope that game designers walk in between getting a game where players'
actions are meaningless because the result is pre determined, and getting a
game where the players have too many ahistorical choices. I just think
Midway and France 1940 are bad examples of that because the very low French
morale and the US signal advantage make very few alternative results
possible. I think I'd add very low Italian morale and your 1940 desert
result to the list too ... Italy sweeping into the Nile. Hm.

Battles that ended up one sided, but could have played out differently would
be things that hinged mainly on failures in command. Stuff like Antietam,
or Gallipolli (anniversary's on the 25th for you non Australians out there),
or Stalingrad. Plenty of others. Something that's built around the inherent
hopelessness of the army, equipment, or whatever else, _as well as_ a
failure in strategy, well, it's just a matter of how quickly it's all over.

Regards, Mike Kreuzer
Anonymous
April 14, 2005 2:38:08 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

"Mike Kreuzer" <INITIAL+SURNAME@tpg.com.au> wrote in message
news:425dbba4@dnews.tpgi.com.au...
>
> "Giftzwerg" <giftzwerg999@NOSPAMZ.hotmail.com> wrote in message
> news:MPG.1cc48af016226598a272@news-east.giganews.com...
> [interesting stuff snipped]
>
> > But what about Midway? What adjustments can we make there such that the
> > game reliably reproduces a stunningly lopsided USN victory? We didn't
> > discover any fundamental weaknesses in Japanese training, or ships, or
> > airplanes, or strategy. Which IJN do we model? The one with more
> > carriers, more planes, more pilots, better trained pilots, more
> > effective weapons, longer range, bigger guns, and tremendous momentum?
> > Or the IJN that lost its whole carrier fleet and 95% of its pilots in a
> > few hours?
>
> It's not really my field, but I thought the US was reading the Japanese
> naval code in pretty much real time long before Midway. To model Midway
> you'd have to:
> 1. tell the Japanese player that moves are conducted secretly &
> simultaneously.
> 2. show the US player the Japanese player's moves and let him adjust his
> accordingly.
> 3. Sit back and watch and historical result pop up pretty much every
time.
>

Re: Japanese Codes. Not quite. The US had broken many of the Japanese
codes, but not all. The "decoding in real time" bit probably comes from the
Magic intercepts of the famous December 7 14-part message that was the
effective declaration of war. US Intelligence had previous information that
let them know to be on the lookout for that specific message and the delay
on the Japanese side was due to the Imperial embassy not having a qualified
typist on a Sunday.

The US was never really decoding in "real time". There were just too many
communications, the codes got changed frequently and many of them were
_never_ broken. There is a huge number of coded Imperial Japanese military
messages that have not been decoded to this day. (Although that is probably
due to the fact that there is no great urgency to doing so anymore. *grin*)

--
Multiversal Mercenaries. You name it, we kill it. Any time, any reality.
Anonymous
April 14, 2005 2:38:08 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.games.war-historical (More info?)

In article <425dbba4@dnews.tpgi.com.au>, INITIAL+SURNAME@tpg.com.au
says...

> > But what about Midway? What adjustments can we make there such that the
> > game reliably reproduces a stunningly lopsided USN victory? We didn't
> > discover any fundamental weaknesses in Japanese training, or ships, or
> > airplanes, or strategy. Which IJN do we model? The one with more
> > carriers, more planes, more pilots, better trained pilots, more
> > effective weapons, longer range, bigger guns, and tremendous momentum?
> > Or the IJN that lost its whole carrier fleet and 95% of its pilots in a
> > few hours?
>
> It's not really my field, but I thought the US was reading the Japanese
> naval code in pretty much real time long before Midway. To model Midway
> you'd have to:
> 1. tell the Japanese player that moves are conducted secretly &
> simultaneously.
> 2. show the US player the Japanese player's moves and let him adjust his
> accordingly.
> 3. Sit back and watch and historical result pop up pretty much every time.

But this is predicated on a wholly mistaken assumption; that American
intelligence was privy to Japanese *tactical/operational*
communications, and relaying it to Admirals at sea in real-time. Good
as it was, the American codebreaking effort wasn't able to give USN
leaders much more than, "The Japanese are going to attack at Midway
around this date." That's pretty good, from a naval strategy
standpoint, but it's a far cry from having the magic crystal ball you're
suggesting.

So from a game-design standpoint, the codebreaking coup is really
irrelevant; all it meant was that the American fleet was deployed for
battle at the right place - and one of the Japanese *objectives* was to
draw the US fleet into decisive action. In other words, that the battle
took place can be laid at the feet of good American intelligence, but
how the battle played out was utterly unaffected.

> Battles that ended up one sided, but could have played out differently would
> be things that hinged mainly on failures in command. Stuff like Antietam,
> or Gallipolli (anniversary's on the 25th for you non Australians out there),
> or Stalingrad. Plenty of others. Something that's built around the inherent
> hopelessness of the army, equipment, or whatever else, _as well as_ a
> failure in strategy, well, it's just a matter of how quickly it's all over.

Ah, but that's just the point. Midway *is* pretty much a hopeless
battle - for the Americans - unless the Japanese player completely
dissipates his *enormous* advantages in numbers, quality, and initiative
by adopting the Rube Goldberg plan that Yamamoto[1] came up with.

And even *then*, the USN side has *one* roll of the dice; pretty decent
dive-bombing units on the carriers. If *anything* goes wrong - or just
doesn't go decisively right - when the USN sends them in, the jig is
more-or-less up. Historically, the game resulted in a decisive,
lopsided American victory only because the American dive-bombers
appeared over the Japanese fleet in roughly the *one* fifteen minute
period when the Japanese were most vulnerable; the astounding amount of
pure chance it took to make that happen is roughly equivalent to rolling
snake-eyes five times running.

So far as France '40, I'm not sure I've heard a careful case made for
low French morale being The Decisive Factor. Certainly French morale
plummeted *after* the German breakthrough, and plainly the French Army
could have been in better shape, but my take would be that this is at
best only arguable, not obvious.


[1] Clearly, the man was having an off-day.

--
Giftzwerg
***
"Most Republicans skipped the hearing, leaving Democrats largely
unchallenged as they assailed Bolton's knack for making enemies
and disparaging the very organization he would serve."
- Dana Milbank, Washington Post

"Uh, Dana? I'm pretty sure the organization Mr. Bolton is supposed
to be serving is *America*."
- Giftzwerg
!