turtlefang -> RE: Things I would like to see in "the patch" (10/9/2012 3:57:18 PM)
Just to be clear, I'm enjoying the conversation, and I think you're bringing up some valid points. But I think you have now expanded the discussion to trying to correct a lot of issues in the game rather than discuss a lack of C&C and try to fix that with a variable MP issue, which didn't address the issue:
1) I think that many of the cross-coordination issues you describe were due to the fact that the supporting units were not in fact in place to assist in the attack or defense (ie, they fell a few MP short of ending up where they were supposed to be); they were not always sitting right at the line of deployment and then just failed to cross on time, etc. In other words, I don't think that the problem is that they just didn't synchronize their watches--the units were often simply not at the right place at the right time.
I believe the primary issue here was not strategic movement but tactical movement and communications. The Soviets simply did NOT have a communication net at the tactical level that allowed them to coordinate these assets. The doubling - and in some cases tripling - of the army's size between 39-41 was highly uneven. And the most neglected part was the communications network in ALL Soviet formations. Just looking at the authorized - must less issued - radios, and Soviets had no chance to fight any type of non-set piece battle. Where the Germans did run into trouble, the Soviets usually had two to four days to prepare and run telephone cable. Artillery deployment in 41 was usually petty good - it kept up at the division and Corps level. Artillery use in 41 was terrible - it was generally line of sight. And the result was a large number of guns knocked out by the Germans in action. This is reported time and time again in German AARs. Indirect fire, by the Soviets, was simply not used to any great extend in 41 until Leningrad.
When artillery use was good, the Soviets had time to run wire, pre-register fire and set up. The few times that happened, the Germans did get take losses.
2) You say that Sov command deficiencies are adequately addressed by how combat is handled. I disagree, however, because I think that the current combat model does a very poor job of replicating the results of the opening campaign--Sovs units were on often capable of giving the Germans a good fight and generally succeeded in bleeding the Germans. Generally Sov units in the game are too weak, and most (all?) AARs show that German casualties are much lower than historical pre-blizzard and must be compensated by excessively harsh blizzard conditions. And this is all with the horrible 1:1->2:1 kludge, which frankly has no place in a properly-designed wargame.
Therefore, I think that the combat model needs to be fixed, but to do this without imposing some kind of command limitations on the Sovs would give the Sovs too much of an advantage.
Could be. On the other hand, I think the overall attrition rate too low for the Germans and a too high for Soviets and should be adjusted. And the blizzard rules are too harsh - just not sure how much too harsh as the Germans took a real pounding there. These could be adjusted several ways - a much higher attrition rate, a change in the CV values, etc... But right now, the Soviets should not be able to push the Germans back three hundred miles.
And in 41, a 1:1/2:1 advantage isn't out of the question. This should change as the war goes on and the Germans get worse and the Soviets get better.
As far as the combat model goes, that's a completely different discussion. And I will admit that I'm not as well versed in it as others are but "it seems" to give about the right results for combat at that time.
3) Whatever C&C capabilities the Sovs had, in 1941 at least the Germans were much better, were inside the Sovs's "decision cycle", and could literally run rings around the Sovs. The game currently replicates this by allowing panzers to move 20-25 hexes before the Sovs can react at all, which I think is an unsatisfactory solution. I think that fixing this will be a challenge.
The decision cycle - again - to me, was at the tactical level. And the German Army in 41 was the best mass army in the world - and maybe ever in the world for that technology. The individual company and battalion commanders simply ran rings around the Soviets. And it wasn't just the Panzers. German Infantry was greatly superior to Soviet - for intends and purposes - untrained infantry. Does this translate into a strategic movement advantage? I just don't believe it does unless you achieve a breakthrough.
4) The trickiest issue in any Barbarossa game, and one that I'm not sure can really be addressed, is that I think that many of the Sov's "strategic mistakes" were not simple mistakes that could have been avoided by making a better choice--in fact the Sovs had many poor commanders and moreover just didn't appreciate German capabilities or understand their own deficiencies and thus almost could not make proper strategic decisions, while players have 20/20 hindsight. While I'm sure you can cite examples where Zhukov wanted to do this, and stalin overrode him with disasterous effects, Zhukov could not be everywhere and I think that the Sov command apparatus as a whole is treated too generously in this game.
No argument here. And I would add the fear factor. Stalin's purge remained on the minds of many of the higher level commanders and compounded their mistakes to fight forward. And you had a dual command structure with the Commissars. If I was actually addressing this, I would lower the Soviet Corps, Army and Front command ratings in 41, then raise them in 42 when mud or blizzard starts to where they are now. And I do think they are too low in 42 right now so I would take them up to 24 at the army level. Where they were before I started playing the game according to some back post, I think.
In any case, your right. This one's hard. But the flip side just as hard. How do you model Hitler's no retreat rules later in the war that allowed Stalingrad and AGC? You can't do one without the other - and I have no answers here.
But if you address the Soviets in the 41, you have to address the Germans in late 42, 43 and 44. And how do you address Gunderian's initial refusal to move and support AGS pocket before opening the Battle of Moscow? I just think your maybe opening a can of worms that can't be addressed well here. Or will get a lot of players disinterested in the game due to C&C rules.
5) Another very tricky (and perhaps insoluble) issue--while generally it would be bad to force players to make historical mistakes, if they don't do so, games will end up very different from history. Obvious examples in multiple AARs are that Sovs are too free to retreat to the east, and the Germans break off their attack on Moscow too early, pull back during the blizzard, etc. Victory conditions can obviously help here, but I'm not sure that that is enough--I would hate to find out at some point in 1945 that I lost the campaign because the Germans took Smolensk on Turn 8 rather than Turn 9, etc. As another example, the Germans have no real reason to push hard for Moscow in late 1941, whereas IRL they thought it could win them the war...
As far as history goes, so what? You set up the historical conditions, then let the players play. If they recreate it, fine. But most players I know have studied history and try to avoid the historical mistakes. And they don't want to be forced into those mistakes. That's the whole point of playing.
This is an opinion, but I'm not a fan of victory conditions. In truth, nothing really mattered in the East except Berlin and Stalin. I might suggested a morale adjustment to the Soviets for certain cities - Kiev, Kharkov, Leningrad, a bigger one for Moscow, but reality is - none of these represented a make or break for the Soviets except maybe Moscow. The Soviets LOST 40% of their territory and population centers and still won. That petty much tells you the land grab wasn't relevant to the victory conditions.
The bigger problem, and the one that would convince me to have victory conditions, is getting the German player to play PAST 42 rather than just resign and go home - or quit. On that side, I think you have a good argument. But that's not history. But I would support that position.