Le Tondu -> RE: Request another honest answer (3/8/2004 6:40:01 PM)
I post here NOT to flame or have a fight and I really do respect the desire of others to retain the game as it was when it was published. Tradition has a value and I honor it.
I beg that only common sense be considered after the initial release. The lack of FOW as it exists in the board game simply did not exist historically.
Please do not take my word for it. Baron Antoine Henri de Jomini and General Carl von Clausewitz are the two foremost military historians to come out of the Napoleonic Wars. I felt it was important to bring the experience of someone who at the very highest of levels fought on both sides during the Napoleonic Wars.
It is from Jomini's "The Art of War" that I wish to share the following.
Oringally published in 1838, (in its entirety,) from CHAPTER II on Military Policy, ppg 39-40
Military Statistics and Geography
"By the first of these two sciences we understand the most thorough knowledge possible of the elements of power and military resources of the enemy with whom we are called upon to contend ; the second consists in the topographical and strategic description of the theater of war, with all the obstacles, natural or artificial, to be encountered, and the examination of the permanent decisive points which may be presented in the whole extent of the frontier or thoughout the extent of the country. Besides the minister of war, the commanding general and his chief of staff should be afforded this information, under the penalty of cruel miscalculations in their plans, as happens frequently in our day, despite the great strides civilized nations have taken in statistical, diplomatic, geographical, and topographical sciences.
I will cite two examples of which I was cognizant. In 1796, Moreau's army, entering the Black Forest, expected to find terrible mountains, frightful defiles and forests, and was greatly surprised to discover, after climbing the declivities of the plateau that the slope to the Rhine, that these, with their spurs, were the only mountains, and that the country, from the sources of the Danube to Danauwerth, was a rich and level plain.
The second example was in 1813. Napoleon and his whole army supposed the interior of Bohemia to be very mountainous, ---whereas there is no district in Europe more level, after the girdle of mountains surrounding it has been crossed, which may be done in a single march.
All European officers held the same erroneous opinions in reference to the Balkan and the Turkish force in the interior. It seemed that it was given out at Constantinople that this province was an almost impregnable barrier and the palladium of the empire, ---an error which I, having lived in the Alps, did not entertain. Other prejudices not less deeply rooted, have led to the belief that a people all the individuals of which are constantly armed would constitue a formidable militia and would defend themselves to the last extemity. Experience has proved that the old regulations which placed the elite of the Janissaries in the frontier-cities of the Danube made the population of those cities more warlike than the inhabitants of the interior. In fact the projects of reform of the Sultan Mahmoud required the overthrow of the old system, and there was no time to replace it by the new : so that the empire was defenseless. Experience has constantly proved that a mere multitude of brave men armed to the teeth make neither a good army nor a national defense.
Let us return to the necessity of knowing well the military geography and statistics of an empire. These sciences are not set forth in treatises , and are yet to be developed. Lloyd, who wrote an essay upon them, in describing the frontiers of the great states of Europe, was not fortunate in his maxims and predictions. He saw obstacles everywhere ; he represents as impregnable the Austrian frontier of the Inn, between the Tyrol and Passau, where Napoleon and Moreau maneuvered and triumphed in 1800, 1805, and 1809.
But, if these sciences are not publicly taught, the archives of the European staff must necessarily possess many documents valuable for instruction in them, ---at least for the special staff school. Awaiting the time when some studious officer, profiting by these published and unpublished documents, shall present Europe with a good military and strategic geopraphy, we may, thanks to the immense progress of topography of late years, partially supply the want of it by the excellent charts published in all European countries with the last twenty years. At the beginning of the French Revolution topography wans in its infancy : except in the semi-topographical map of Cassini, the works of Bakenberg alone merited the name. The Austrian and Prussian staff schools, however, were good, and have since borne fruit. The charts published recently at Vienna, at Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart, and Paris, as well as those of the institute of Herder at Fribourg, promise to future generals immense resources unknown to their predecessors.
Military statistics is not much better known than geopraphy. We have but vague and superficial statements, from which the strength of armies and navies is conjectured, and also the revenue supposed to be possessed by a state, ---which is far from beng the knowledge necessary to plan operations. Our object here is not to discuss thoroughly these important subjuects, but to indicate them, as facilitating success in military enterprises."
Bold was added by me for emphasis.
Geography is something far more permanent than the strengths of armies and navies, yet such an important science was woefully lacking even to Napoleon when he controlled all of Europe as is expressed in Jomini's 1813 example. Even contemporary authorities got it wrong.
During the entire time, that I publicly wished for some kind of FOW for this game, I felt that the gamer should have the choice of the original FOW or something more realistic. I still do.
As it is now according to Marshall, the gamer will still have knowledge which will gives him an edge that simply wasn't there historically. I pray that will change.
To Marshall, the examples you gave forgets that a player would easily know what is going on in his own provinces and hence detect an army crossing the frontier. It was the other's provinces that he has the least ability to know about as is explained by Jomini. This is a tough nut to crack, but I believe that it can be done.
Lastly, I apologize for the length of this post if anyone is bothered by that.
PS. This post has been edited only to correct typos.