ORIGINAL: Curtis Lemay
However, I was thinking that 'okay, achieving defending status is a matter of getting 'set' and might take a well-trained unit a few hours. 'Entrenched' means everyone has a proper hole and the command post actually has a dugout of sorts. That's a day, what with this and that. A proper trench system is more like a month.
I don't know that "Fortified Deployment" is a proper trench system. That would be "Fortified Line" terrain. Rather, it's just being dug in to the point that the unit itself gets a x8 benefit.
It's easy enough to set up an algorithm that slows as it approaches 100%. I should think this would be fairly doable.
For sure it seems too swift now, since the same effort to dig into Entrenched deployment only got it another x2, while Fortified gets another x4. So, at a minimum, it should take two steps to get to Fortified. Then X effort would return Y results at each step. But perhaps there should be diminishing returns, so that it takes more than X effort to get Y results at higher and higher levels. But I don't know that for sure and certainly don't know just what the rate of diminishment should be.
You seem to be understanding what I am getting at. A minimal level of digging in -- defending status -- can be achieved in a matter of hours. It's as much a matter of not being hit while forming up or in march order as anything. Really full entrenchment can take months, depending on conditions. One should be able to hop to 'x2' simply by stopping and doing it. 'x8' should take quite a while.
That doesn't really matter. Have at it. Have two battalions manning that stretch of trench.
I completely disagree. The original unit only dug a defense for itself.
Notta necessarily. Lines are commonly prepared in advance -- and prepared for considerably larger forces than those digging them.
That's why a battalion can dig in as fast as a corps. If the original unit is going to stay then the new unit has to start from scratch. Otherwise, imagine the abuse that would ensue. One unit digs in then eight more get to Fortified automatically. Why would any useful unit ever waste time digging in?
Well, first, you'd have to set aside 'diggers' to make the line. Secondly, you'd have to know where it was going to go. These were real-life considerations, and forces both benefitted from looking ahead -- as when the Germans withdrew to the Hindenberg Line in 1917 -- and suffered from not looking ahead -- as when the Germans never could fall back to a properly prepared line in 1943.
I also think that there's a tendency to 'fort worship.' That is to say, historical evidence notwithstanding, people keep acting as if super-elaborate structures such as the Maginot Line were markedly more impenetrable than what would be built by any motivated unit holding the same ground for a few months.
I don't think so. The Germans started preparing their winter line in Italy in October 1943 and the Allies were fully up to it a month later. It held for seven months. Conversely, given a month with an adequate and undistracted force, the Germans were able to reduce Sevastopol.
Then too, a good deal of your argument is hinging on 'battalions and corps.' Well, having such a wide spread in unit size is bad design in the first place, and really, one should be talking about battalions and brigades, and really, battalions do prepare positions that can be readily reinforced to brigade strength.
However, you are right that some piss-ant AT unit shouldn't be able to prepare a line for a whole brigade -- or should take an awful long time to do it. It might be necessary to elaborate the digging in formulas in some way to account for the size of the entrenching unit versus the size of the hex. Obviously, in -- say, a five km hex -- a battalion of a dozen AT guns can fortify itself quite nicely without necessarily having made accommodation for two infantry battalions as well.
The enemy occupation is a bit of a problem, and unmanned fortifications will deteriorate -- see Tobruk by June 1942, but I still don't see this as an overwhelming problem. One would have a mechanism that in certain rare cases would have a somewhat questionable effect.
It's worse than that. The entrenchment level may have been made for a front in a completely different orientation, as well.
Indeed. However, in TOAW we have to take the average of these things. Allied units in 1918 were able to take some advantage of Hindenberg Line fortifications, though -- just not full advantage. A fine hole is a fine hole when it comes to sheltering from an artillery barrage.
Of course, if you wanted to have unmanned fortifications or fortifications that have changed hands automatically revert to a lower level, that would okay too -- in fact, it's not a bad idea. Certainly one of the problems that stymied World War One attackers was that it was hard to promptly adopt what the enemy had dug -- what with no communication trenches across no mans land and everything facing the wrong way, and all the instructions in German.
Enemy occupation decreases the entrenchment level already. It's a good thing - provided that entrenchment level continues to affect entrenchment chances.
But it wouldn't be essential. An inability to do this is not a reason to refrain from making a change that would still be a net improvement.
Actually what you're suggesting isn't essential. The way it works now is about right, if the hex is unoccuppied. The entrenchment level benefits the unit in digging in, but doesn't guarantee any level.
But there you are. In the real world, positions are often prepared in advance by relatively small forces and then occupied by larger ones. The failure to do this is one of the things that made German generals complain in 1943.
Nu? What's wrong with a battalion digging positions intended for a division to occupy? In fact, if you have some labor battalions, now you have an authentic use for them.
You've got a point -- but generally, a unit isn't confined to making a system that is only large enough for itself. It's perfectly capable of making enough room for any friends that might want to come help out when the actual fireworks start.
The battalion has only dug a defense for a battalion. The Corps needs a defense for a Corps. Again, This would be abused ridiculusly. Why dig in a Corps if a battalion can do it for it?
I think both ends of this have already been covered.
The only way this could be safely effected would be if both the old (Fortified) and new (Mobile) units were in the same hex and "swapped" deployments. And there would have to be some sort of check of their TO&E for sufficient similarity. Too much work for too little benefit.
I think you only say 'too much work for too little benefit' because you haven't considered just how widely what happens in TOAW diverges from historical reality.
One of the things that makes it harder to hold a line in TOAW than it is in reality is that units can't move in and immediately assume the fortified deployment of the previous defender. Your infantry regiment has been hammered down to a 1-3. In the real world, if there's a fresh regiment, it can move in and relieve the 1-3, immediately becoming fortified in its stead. In TOAW, the new unit is going to be caught in at best entrenched status. While catching units at the precise moment of relief was an excellent tactic, it was considerably harder to do in reality than it is in TOAW -- and that's one of the reasons lines are harder to hold in TOAW than they were in reality.
It's actually one place where TOAW really falls down. One should be able to cling fairly well to a line, then have to fall back to a new one. Actually, one just gets rather slowly and indeterminately driven back, since there is no such ability to immediately inherit the fortifications occupied by the previous defender. What happens in real life is more like what happened in Italy, where the Germans were finally pounded out of the Winter Line, then were neither able to nor attempted to make a serious stand until they had fallen back to the Gothic Line. We could be better simulate this if it was both more time-consuming to reach fortified status and if such a status was more readily heritable.
There's also no particular need that the defenders be identical in size. 'Intelligence reports indicated that only one battalion was in ______. Actually, the Germans had moved in three additional battalions, and there were now four battalions in _________.'
This aspect of your argument takes on overwhelming validity only when there is an extreme difference in the size of the units, which is (a) bad design, and (b) in some cases at least posits that somehow your ant unit has indeed been holding the line by itself all this while.
Your point about a unit only preparing accommodations for itself has some validity, but fails on two points. First, it may well have prepared rooms for additional guests, and secondly, assuming it was actually trying to comprehensively defend the position, there should be trenches, strongpoints, etc covering the entire frontage, and those can simply be occupied in greater strength.
Is it? A unit can move into fortified line and promptly achieve fortified status? I'm suspicious. In any case, can you dig 'fortified line'?
Move into a Fortified Line hex and you're in a Fortified Line hex. You can't create Fortified Line yet, but that sounds like a better use of resources addressing that.
What wouldn't be accurate is some sort of formula that 'all blown bridges take exactly 1000 man hours to fix.' Obviously, that's quite untrue, and no, you can't send an engineering battalion along with your spearhead and figure it'll be able to fix each blown bridge it comes to in exactly one hour.
But, again, if the unit has 100% engineering, then that's exactly what you know. There is no random aspect whatsoever. And, think if you have one unit with 100% engineering and four bridges to repair. They'll be repaired in exactly four turns. Now suppose you have four engineers with 25% engineering each and those same four bridges. You've got the same amount of assets applied to the same task. It should still take four turns to repair them all.
Well, at a certain point you do know. After all, that's more or less what goes on with these disaster relief projects. They go in with enough to deal with whatever they might find. Send along enough bridging men and material to span anything that's in the region, and you should be able to fix whatever's been blown up.
However, I'm not arguing that the current system is perfect. Merely that one that trades this for some set formula might not be an improvement. Your average divisional engineering battalion is liable to run into some unanticipated challenges along the way. 'But there were no...' is a common discovery in the history of military campaigns.
Well, currently it does - on average. And the more bridges get repaired in the game the closer that average will get to equivalent. That's why I don't see an issue with the way it is now. But, it wouldn't be wrong if it kept count of repair stages.
We don't seem to be arguing about much, then. 'Repair stages' might be okay. At least you would know when to expect that this thing will be fixed -- which is something that would become apparent once somebody had actually shown up to look at the damage and phoned back to find out what parts were in stock. Once you've actually let the mechanic look at your car, he has a better idea of when you can expect to have it back.
I've usually found the unpredictability of bridge repair to only occasionally get out of hand, so I can't say I see it as the most pressing issue, but it wouldn't hurt if the problem got defined as soon as an engineering unit actually started on the job. Essentially, the program would decide whether the 'blown bridge' was a matter of someone having torn up the floorboards or of somebody having dynamited both piers on the Golden Gate Bridge once but only once work had started.
< Message edited by ColinWright -- 8/28/2011 8:08:21 PM >
I am not Charlie Hebdo