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barbarossa-tactical - 7/12/2008 12:22:14 AM   
Bibbo

 

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East front affianondos

Having a fascination with all things on the eastern front I've tackled the new mod. just released by that great modder Silvanski...tactical barbarossa. I've been following the ups and downs through the various AAR's of FITE. Having several FITE under my belt I have to agree with the consensus that FITE is a 20-30 turn game when played by 2 experienced players.You know the virtually impregnable Smolensk line that ends axis movement eastward by fall 41. A real shame for a game thats designed to last for several hundred turns. I'm hoping that this mod plays differently and indeed we see a 2'nd offensive possible in the spring of 42. Has anybody played this(would have to be the pre-mod version) and what was it like? I know there are many of you out there who looking for that game we hoped FITE would be so give this one a try and lets get some AAR's going on this potential gem. I'm a better reader than doer of AAR's but will keep anyone interested informed on how my game goes.
Post #: 1
RE: barbarossa-tactical - 7/12/2008 2:11:04 AM   
Silvanski


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Bibbo

East front affianondos
modder Silvanski...


Saddam once offered me a job ..."The Modder Of All Battles" I know


quote:

I'm hoping that this mod plays differently and indeed we see a 2'nd offensive possible in the spring of 42.


It unfortunately doesn't run late into spring 42 as Piero's intention was to model Barbarossa and the Red Army counter attack, but there's German recovery of supply and replacements to try something late in the scenario


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RE: barbarossa-tactical - 7/12/2008 5:43:55 AM   
wmorris

 

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I think that what we have seen with FITE is a demonstration that the historical distance of German penetration was dependent on the blundering of Stalin and the STAVKA in the first months of the war- adoption of the "pullback strategy" by them may well have produced results in line with the AAR's we have seen (Glantz has much to say about this in Stumbling Colossus). Im beginning to believe that mods that give the Axis player more than an infinitesimal chance of taking Moscow in 1941 would be ahistorical fantasies. I am more interested in modeling than play balance, and the question in my mind is whether the Axis player has a reasonable chance of crippling the Russians in 1942-43 (after forgoing the attacks of late fall 1941), and/or holding a line in Byelorussia- Ukraine at the end of 1944. I believe that this would have had a great influence on history, assuming that they did not then collapse in 1945. Otherwise, the original designers may well be right in their stated victory condition.

This said, I think that there is a good case for considerable modding to FITE. In particular, I think that the pullback strategy would have resulted in the Soviets not having time to evacuate much of the industry that they managed to send to the Urals, and thus I am tinkering with penalties for an early retreat, like delaying/reducing the Soviets' first "gear-up" of replacements. There are modifications that are in use and seem appropriate to me (mostly regarding reconstitution), and I am examining some aspects of German force composition that look inadequate, primarily that the Germans later "heavy up" in the ratio of weaponry/personnel to a greater degree than is modeled in the transitions. It also needs to be better modeled that the Panzerfaust becomes common in 1944 and nearly ubiquitous (even Field Police units had them) in 1945.

A whole generation of future mods arise from two statements Guderian makes in Panzer Leader :

1) [upon being informed of Barbarossa]"I made no attempt to conceal my disappointment and disgust...Three army groups, each with approximately the same strength, were to attack with diverging objectives; no single clear operational objective seemed to be envisaged. Looked at prom a professional point of view, this did not appear at all promising".

2) "According to the information available to me, the German Army on 22.6.1941 consisted of 205 divisions as follows:
38 in the West,
12 in Norway,
1 in Denmark,
7 in the Balkans,
2 in Libya, and therefore
145 divisions available for operations in the East.
This dispersal of strength involved an unpleasant dissipation. The figure of 38 divisions in the West appeared particularly high. 12 divisions for Norway also formed and unnecessarily large garrison".

Anyone for a mod with a further concentration of force north of the Pripyat and an additional AOK of 8-12 divisions?









(in reply to Silvanski)
Post #: 3
RE: barbarossa-tactical - 7/12/2008 7:27:25 AM   
Ian R

 

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WMorris, Glantz is good reading but be careful of the memoirs of Fast Heinz, Manstein (Lost Battles) and the other fellow (FW von Mellenthin) (called Panzer Battles). Those fellows had barrows to push. For instance Guderian talks about the trains running to somewhere close to the front (Tula?) in late 1941 as if that was where the rail net was, but we all know now that such an occurrence was not regular and the supply net had not caught up. Also you need to have a look at how many of the 38 divisions in the west were at anything like full strength, had transport at TOE, etc.

Having said that I agree with your statement: " mods that give the Axis player more than an infinitesimal chance of taking Moscow in 1941 would be ahistorical fantasies.", although I would say they can with some luck take it but holding on to it should be more of a problem.

Where I disagree with you though is on the statement: "the historical distance of German penetration was dependent on the blundering of Stalin and the STAVKA" . They played a role, but the real impediment to further German advances, particularly in August/September after the battle of Smolensk, was the limited reach (and failure) of the supply net. Basically it reached 200 miles or so from the true railheads, which advanced very slowly, and which distance dcreased as the myriad of truck types looted from Western Europe began to break down, and the horses which powered 80% of the Wehrmacht were worn out and broke down. The AGS supply grid pretty much disintegrated after Kiev and the 1st Panzergruppe headed for Rostov without a firm supply line. Going east of Smolensk, or at least Vyazma, was a leap into the dark zone with out firm supplies of fule, ammo, replacements.

Martin Van Crevald's "Supplying war" is the best (in English) work on this subject, although there are some German sources he refers to.

It is troubling that you say the Soviets can halt the Germans at Smolensk - German logistics reach should see them carve up the 1941 Red Army at Smolensk. What was more troubling though in the original edition of this scenario (for TOAW I, way back then) was that the German divisions sitting up near Moscow were regaining strength and readiness like they were camped in the depot at Zossen living the good life. They should all be down at 50% to 67% effectiveness, and unable to regain full strength until spring 1942.

I have acquired TOAW III but haven't got to playing this yet - I'm intending to load it on my laptop and plug in a 4Gig flash drive to use as added RAM, just need to get organised..

But please tell me that there is a way to tone down the speed of repair of rails and delivery of supply to the units in this model.




< Message edited by Ian R -- 7/12/2008 8:05:48 AM >


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- Cdr Spock


Ian R

(in reply to wmorris)
Post #: 4
RE: barbarossa-tactical - 7/12/2008 5:57:02 PM   
wmorris

 

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Thanks, Ian.

Sorting the veracity and intentions of the various authors is an ever-present problem. Manstein and von Mellethin certainly had axes to grind and defenses to make, but the postwar debriefers always appended their interviews with Guderian by saying that he seemed extraordinarily forthright, answering promptly without any appearance of evasiveness or disingenousness. Perhaps it is that he was just brighter than they. He also takes care to quote documents when possible. Raus also seems particularly reliable, as far as I have been able to corroborate ( this document http://www.history.army.mil/books/wwii/milimprov/fm.htm is by him and others in the series of US Army postwar publications are heavily contributed to by him). I hear also that a large German monograph by Gotthard Heinrici is being translated, and he also was a favorite of the debriefers.

I agree that, as you say, the rate of advance of logistical support imposed an absolute limit on the rate and distance of German advance. My point was that the bad operational choices of the Soviets was the determinant of the degree of advance possible within that context. Pardon that I left that unspoken. My recollection of Guderian's comments about rail usage near the line in late 1941 was that he attempted without success to obtain rail lorries to use on track as yet unserviceable to locomotives; but I would be pleased to be corrected with the actual quote.

I myself never said that the Soviets can STOP the Axis at Smolensk. My impression, though, is that by using the early withdrawal strategy used in many of the posted AAR's, the Soviets could have presented a meaningful defensive front at Smolensk, creating an attrition battle at the end of a yet incomplete supply net for the Germans.

I also believe that if the Soviet player does this, he should suffer a penaly to his subsequent production for the industry he would not have time to relocate to the Urals. I havent worked out in my mind what the trigger should be in game terms. For the time being, Im using a single event triggered by consent of the players-if it looks like a rapid withdrawal, its a rapid withdrawal, regardless of rearguards (do rearguards introduce "gameyness" to absolutely everything?)

It is possible to hamper German supply in any way you wish. You can:
reduce or delay the entry and number of rail repair units and modify their repair capability,
reduce the number of automatic rail repair hexes per turn,
jigger the supply levels up and down over time to your heart's content with the Event Engine,
modify the total possible rail tonnage capability up or down over time, also with the Event Engine.

(in reply to Ian R)
Post #: 5
RE: barbarossa-tactical - 7/12/2008 6:36:20 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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quote:

ORIGINAL: wmorris

I think that what we have seen with FITE is a demonstration that the historical distance of German penetration was dependent on the blundering of Stalin and the STAVKA in the first months of the war...


You're sure that FITE has been optimized as a Barbarossa simulator? Why doesn't this demonstrate that FITE has some issues, instead? TOAW has a lot of tools that I don't think FITE has tried yet. Let me just suggest one: The Attrition Divider setting.

I think it's debatable which side made the most blunders in Barbarossa, and which should benefit the most from 20:20 hindsight. Yes, the Soviets can fall back further. But remember that the Germans suffered "Victory Disease" after the frontier armies were carved up. No German player will make that mistake.

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Post #: 6
RE: barbarossa-tactical - 7/12/2008 7:25:00 PM   
wmorris

 

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quote:

You're sure that FITE has been optimized as a Barbarossa simulator?


BWAHAHAHA

But if its utterly useless, I can stop splitting time between this and PokerStars, because this is playing hell with my net profit. A few of my concerns were included my posts above. Some of these call for tweaks, and some for major arm-twisting of the original design.

I also did not say that the Russian high command made worse blunders than the Germans. It is debatable what was worse: the complete loss of several Russian Armies on the one hand versus the using-up of the German forces in late fall 1941 ( and also possibly the entire Barbarossa plan as criticized in post #2 above) My statement was an observation that the distance of penetration of the Axis into the USSR would have been less with the Soviet defense assembled further in the interior (the Suvorov or pullback defense).



(in reply to Curtis Lemay)
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RE: barbarossa-tactical - 7/12/2008 10:41:23 PM   
ColinWright

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Ian R

WMorris, Glantz is good reading but be careful of the memoirs of Fast Heinz, Manstein (Lost Battles) and the other fellow (FW von Mellenthin) (called Panzer Battles). Those fellows had barrows to push. For instance Guderian talks about the trains running to somewhere close to the front (Tula?) in late 1941 as if that was where the rail net was, but we all know now that such an occurrence was not regular and the supply net had not caught up. Also you need to have a look at how many of the 38 divisions in the west were at anything like full strength, had transport at TOE, etc.

Having said that I agree with your statement: " mods that give the Axis player more than an infinitesimal chance of taking Moscow in 1941 would be ahistorical fantasies.", although I would say they can with some luck take it but holding on to it should be more of a problem.

Where I disagree with you though is on the statement: "the historical distance of German penetration was dependent on the blundering of Stalin and the STAVKA" . They played a role, but the real impediment to further German advances, particularly in August/September after the battle of Smolensk, was the limited reach (and failure) of the supply net. Basically it reached 200 miles or so from the true railheads, which advanced very slowly, and which distance dcreased as the myriad of truck types looted from Western Europe began to break down, and the horses which powered 80% of the Wehrmacht were worn out and broke down. The AGS supply grid pretty much disintegrated after Kiev and the 1st Panzergruppe headed for Rostov without a firm supply line. Going east of Smolensk, or at least Vyazma, was a leap into the dark zone with out firm supplies of fule, ammo, replacements.

Martin Van Crevald's "Supplying war" is the best (in English) work on this subject, although there are some German sources he refers to.

It is troubling that you say the Soviets can halt the Germans at Smolensk - German logistics reach should see them carve up the 1941 Red Army at Smolensk. What was more troubling though in the original edition of this scenario (for TOAW I, way back then) was that the German divisions sitting up near Moscow were regaining strength and readiness like they were camped in the depot at Zossen living the good life. They should all be down at 50% to 67% effectiveness, and unable to regain full strength until spring 1942.

I have acquired TOAW III but haven't got to playing this yet - I'm intending to load it on my laptop and plug in a 4Gig flash drive to use as added RAM, just need to get organised..

But please tell me that there is a way to tone down the speed of repair of rails and delivery of supply to the units in this model.





One thing that came to mind as I was reading these posts.

Obviously, simulating it would be almost impossible -- but could the Red Army have pulled back? Did it have the necessary command and control -- not to mention transportation? Glantz has some impressive figures on just how short of trucks a lot of the artillery was. Not to mention divisions that are still assembling at some prearranged point -- change that point and 3/4's of the division gets lost. The Red Army of 1940 was very impressive on paper -- but it wasn't really a functioning combat organization. Expecting it to function as such may make the simulation easier -- but it's not especially realistic.

Offhand, I wouldn't be surprised if the Red Army spent most of the summer of 1941 not even sure where its units were. Picture it blindly flailing around in the dark, and you probably have as good a picture as that implied by what you see when you open up a TOAW turn.

So one can say that the 'Germans had an almost infinitisimal chance of reaching Moscow' -- but that's against what could be argued to be an imaginary Red Army. Did STAVKA have anything like the command and control a TOAW player has? After all, STAVKA would be ordering 'divisions' into action that turned out to lack 90% of their equipment and 50% of their personnel. It's as if one had to play not knowing whether the counter one was pushing was a 13-25 or a 2-9; not to mention, not knowing whether it had actually made the move.

The Soviets were fighting blind -- as is suggested by the way they would keep repeating unsuccessful attacks. I'd suggest there just wasn't the kind of data and clarity that a TOAW player has. Of course, there probably never is -- but the situation was extreme when it came to the Red Army in the Summer of 1941.




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Post #: 8
RE: barbarossa-tactical - 7/12/2008 11:07:50 PM   
ColinWright

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Curtis Lemay
I think it's debatable which side made the most blunders in Barbarossa, and which should benefit the most from 20:20 hindsight. Yes, the Soviets can fall back further. But remember that the Germans suffered "Victory Disease" after the frontier armies were carved up. No German player will make that mistake.


Actually, I think that there are several campaigns that are inherently impossible to simulate because the outcome was so heavily determined by the gap between expectations and reality.

The two that come to mind are the French campaign of 1940 and Barbarossa. No French or Russian player will ever have the same set of misconceptions as those that hobbled his historical counterparts, and so he will play so completely differently that the resulting campaign won't resemble what historically happened at all.


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Post #: 9
RE: barbarossa-tactical - 7/13/2008 12:39:36 AM   
wmorris

 

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quote:

...but could the Red Army have pulled back? Did it have the necessary command and control -- not to mention transportation? Glantz has some impressive figures on just how short of trucks a lot of the artillery was. Not to mention divisions that are still assembling at some prearranged point -- change that point and 3/4's of the division gets lost. The Red Army of 1940 was very impressive on paper -- but it wasn't really a functioning combat organization. Expecting it to function as such may make the simulation easier -- but it's not especially realistic.

Offhand, I wouldn't be surprised if the Red Army spent most of the summer of 1941 not even sure where its units were. Picture it blindly flailing around in the dark, and you probably have as good a picture as that implied by what you see when you open up a TOAW turn.

So one can say that the 'Germans had an almost infinitisimal chance of reaching Moscow' -- but that's against what could be argued to be an imaginary Red Army. Did STAVKA have anything like the command and control a TOAW player has? After all, STAVKA would be ordering 'divisions' into action that turned out to lack 90% of their equipment and 50% of their personnel. It's as if one had to play not knowing whether the counter one was pushing was a 13-25 or a 2-9; not to mention, not knowing whether it had actually made the move.

The Soviets were fighting blind -- as is suggested by the way they would keep repeating unsuccessful attacks. I'd suggest there just wasn't the kind of data and clarity that a TOAW player has. Of course, there probably never is -- but the situation was extreme when it came to the Red Army in the Summer of 1941.


Noted. But on a contrary note, here's Raus:
"For example, south of Leningrad the 6th Panzer Division would take prisoners from some of the same regiments of the 125th Rifle Division that had first opposed us when we crossed the border at Tauroggen, having withdrawn 500 miles to fight again"

- presumably mostly on foot, versus mechanized opposition all the way.

Even one of those pitiful DNO's marched off as a unit, made it to the German bridgehead south of Kingisepp, and attacked repeatedly until wiped out- but it did not get lost, slink off into the forests, or fail to do what it was told- it just did it very badly.

As for the repetition of unsuccessful attacks, this continued to occur long after the Soviets had much better C3. It may have been partially due to the factors you note, but it also had to do with command inflexibility based on the consequences of not following orders. This tended to paralyze junior commanders' initiative. And then sometimes it was just Zhukov being himself (you've been reading Glantz, right?)

Granted, a "Suvorov strategy" would be a mess to implement in fact, being completely contrary to all Soviet war plans. But military organizations deal with a mess much more often than not.

quote:

No French or Russian player will ever have the same set of misconceptions as those that hobbled his historical counterparts, and so he will play so completely differently that the resulting campaign won't resemble what historically happened at all.


This I buy, it would require intentional role-playing to test scenario designs to see if they parallel historical outcomes.




(in reply to ColinWright)
Post #: 10
RE: barbarossa-tactical - 7/13/2008 6:14:06 AM   
Ian R

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: wmorris


It is possible to hamper German supply in any way you wish. You can:
reduce or delay the entry and number of rail repair units and modify their repair capability,
reduce the number of automatic rail repair hexes per turn,
jigger the supply levels up and down over time to your heart's content with the Event Engine,
modify the total possible rail tonnage capability up or down over time, also with the Event Engine.




That is good news indeed. One answer might be to have 0 auto rail repair. And RR units that cannot be broken down to triple their number. And have an event tied to 1 September 1941 where the supply level drops to model the breakdown of the road transport.

Then the recent revisionist views of the Smolensk battle can be tested- that it was a strategic success for the Soviets, because although they lost most of their forces involved they caused sufficient (unrecoverable) attrition to the German mobile forces to slow things down enough so they could surivive to the autumn/winter weather.

I was looking for a picture of a German unit using panje carts for transport after the Kiev battle to insert here, but can't find one.

_____________________________

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Ian R

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Post #: 11
RE: barbarossa-tactical - 7/13/2008 6:35:47 AM   
Ian R

 

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This article is a good read:

http://images.google.com.au/imgres?imgurl=http://www-cgsc.army.mil/carl/resources/csi/Wray/Images/foot.gif&imgrefurl=http://www-cgsc.army.mil/carl/resources/csi/Wray/wray.asp&h=475&w=658&sz=256&hl=en&start=4&tbnid=rvW_hIBg7W19fM:&tbnh=100&tbnw=138&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dpanje%2Bcarts%2B%26gbv%3D2%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DG

The part headed Defense by Army Group Center, July-September 1941 has particular relevance to the points I raised, although it focusses on the post Smolensk counter attacks by the Red Army not the battle itself:

" ...as General Halder had foreseen earlier, German personnel replacements were running out. The chief of the General Staff noted on 26 September that convalescents returning to duty constituted the only remaining short-term source of replacement manpower. Although a few replacements trickled down to Bock's tired divisions during September, Army Group Center still reported a net shortage of 80,000 men on I October. Since most of these unreplaced losses were infantrymen, the German ability to seize and hold terrain was seriously eroded. Furthermore, growing shortages of frontline officers and noncommissioned officers also affected the combat worthiness of German units. For example, the war diarist for Army Group Center noted that, two and one-half months after its near destruction by Timoshenko's forces in August, the luckless 161st Division continued to suffer needless casualties due to the division's lack of experienced junior leaders.

The continuous defensive fighting also prevented Army Group Center from building up any appreciable stocks of ammunition. In fending off the attacks on the Ninth and Fourth Armies, the Germans had consumed ammunition almost as quickly as the overtaxed supply columns could deliver it. This meant that Army Group Center would either have to await the stocking of forward supply dumps before it resumed the offensive or continue to operate on an ever-lengthening logistical thread. As events turned out, Army Group Center eventually did a little of both."[size=1 font]




_____________________________

"You may find that having is not so nearly pleasing a thing as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true."
- Cdr Spock


Ian R

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Post #: 12
RE: barbarossa-tactical - 7/13/2008 6:42:01 AM   
Ian R

 

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Heres one with a cart, anyway




Attachment (1)

< Message edited by Ian R -- 7/13/2008 6:44:04 AM >


_____________________________

"You may find that having is not so nearly pleasing a thing as wanting. It is not logical, but it is often true."
- Cdr Spock


Ian R

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Post #: 13
RE: barbarossa-tactical - 7/13/2008 8:07:27 AM   
ColinWright

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: wmorris

This I buy, it would require intentional role-playing to test scenario designs to see if they parallel historical outcomes.



One idea is to pick things up mid-stream. After all, towards the end of 1941, both sides were starting to get a more accurate sense of what they were up against. Thereafter, their 'blunders' started to be more the sort of thing TOAW players will do on their own. For example, continuing the drive on Moscow into December for the Germans, and pushing too hard in the winter offensive for the Russians. If one takes those two as more or less canceling each other out, one could start with 'Typhoon.'

Parenthetically, one book I read that gives a real good sense of what the Summer of 1941 was like for the Russians is Braithwaite's Moscow 1941. As the title suggests, it's not really a military history, but it is illuminating, and it does go into considerable detail on the formation, training, experiences, and performance of those Moscow militia divisions.

Totally irrelevant, but here's one of my favorite passages from the book:

"...The morning of 16 October began in an ominous fashion. The night had been quiet enough. There had been no air-raid alarms: once again the German bombers had been grounded by low cloud and occasional rain mixed with flakes of wet snow. At six o'clock precisely the loudspeakers crackled into life, as they did every day, with the morning's news from Levitan: "This is the communique of the SovInformBuro for the morning of 16 October. For..." And then his voice broke off. The listeners heard instead what they thought at first was the well-known Soviet patriotic song "The March of the Airmen." But as they listened more carefully, the began to realize that the familiar tune was somehow going wrong. Some of them recognized that it was not "The March of the Airmen" at all. It was the "Horst Wessel Lied," the marching song of Hitler's storm troopers. Were the Germans now so close that they had been able to plug into the Moscow radio network? Then the '"Horst Wessel Lied" broke off in its turn and Levitan said, as if nothing had happened, "The situation around Moscow has sharply deteriorated!" The incident remained a mystery..."

And it remains a mystery to this day.

< Message edited by ColinWright -- 7/13/2008 8:21:57 AM >


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Post #: 14
RE: barbarossa-tactical - 7/13/2008 3:19:36 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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quote:

ORIGINAL: ColinWright
Actually, I think that there are several campaigns that are inherently impossible to simulate because the outcome was so heavily determined by the gap between expectations and reality.

The two that come to mind are the French campaign of 1940 and Barbarossa. No French or Russian player will ever have the same set of misconceptions as those that hobbled his historical counterparts, and so he will play so completely differently that the resulting campaign won't resemble what historically happened at all.


Even if one can't force the players to make the same historical blunders that doesn't excuse the scenario from producing completely unrealistic results when those blunders are skipped. The scenario can still be optimized so that whatever decisions the players make, they produce realistic results. And I think any Barbarossa scenario that ends with the Axis balked at Smolensk has some serious design problems. It is not demonstrating what the historical results would have been if the Soviets had just chosen to fall back further and faster.

I'm not familiar enough with the scenario to know just what the problem is, except that I can clearly see that it is using the default AD setting. That parameter is specifically designed to deal with issues concerning speed of advance - the very problem FITE seems to have. Decrease it and the rate of advance should speed up. Increase it and the rate of advance should slow down. For scenarios with half-week turn intervals, I've found, by trial-and-error, that a setting of 4 tends to work best. That's what I've used in CFNA, France 1944, and The Next War 1979. If left at the default setting of 10, those scenarios don't work very well. At 4, they do. For those reasons, I suspect that the AD setting is too high in FITE.

Obviously, there could be other problems as well. It could be a problem with the design of the Soviet forces (too high proficiencies, too much artillery in ranged units, etc.). It could be a problem with the initial setup of the frontier forces (readiness too high, entrenchment levels too high, too much rail cap, etc.). One trick I've used is to omit Supply Points for the Soviets on turn one, adding them by event on turn two. This prevents escape from pockets/disengagements by disbandment. Again, I'm not familiar enough with the scenario to guess if any of these apply.

< Message edited by Curtis Lemay -- 7/13/2008 3:24:16 PM >

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RE: barbarossa-tactical - 7/13/2008 3:49:37 PM   
ColinWright

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Curtis Lemay

quote:

ORIGINAL: ColinWright
Actually, I think that there are several campaigns that are inherently impossible to simulate because the outcome was so heavily determined by the gap between expectations and reality.

The two that come to mind are the French campaign of 1940 and Barbarossa. No French or Russian player will ever have the same set of misconceptions as those that hobbled his historical counterparts, and so he will play so completely differently that the resulting campaign won't resemble what historically happened at all.


Even if one can't force the players to make the same historical blunders that doesn't excuse the scenario from producing completely unrealistic results when those blunders are skipped. The scenario can still be optimized so that whatever decisions the players make, they produce realistic results. And I think any Barbarossa scenario that ends with the Axis balked at Smolensk has some serious design problems. It is not demonstrating what the historical results would have been if the Soviets had just chosen to fall back further and faster.

I'm not familiar enough with the scenario to know just what the problem is, except that I can clearly see that it is using the default AD setting. That parameter is specifically designed to deal with issues concerning speed of advance - the very problem FITE seems to have. Decrease it and the rate of advance should speed up. Increase it and the rate of advance should slow down. For scenarios with half-week turn intervals, I've found, by trial-and-error, that a setting of 4 tends to work best. That's what I've used in CFNA, France 1944, and The Next War 1979. If left at the default setting of 10, those scenarios don't work very well. At 4, they do. For those reasons, I suspect that the AD setting is too high in FITE.

Obviously, there could be other problems as well. It could be a problem with the design of the Soviet forces (too high proficiencies, too much artillery in ranged units, etc.). It could be a problem with the initial setup of the frontier forces (readiness too high, entrenchment levels too high, too much rail cap, etc.). One trick I've used is to omit Supply Points for the Soviets on turn one, adding them by event on turn two. This prevents escape from pockets/disengagements by disbandment. Again, I'm not familiar enough with the scenario to guess if any of these apply.


One problem in general with simulating the War in the East is that Red Army proficiencies -- all of them, not just the unit proficiencies -- should yo-yo violently.

The first-line Red Army of 22 June 1941 wasn't exactly the world's leanest, meanest fighting machine, but it was a trained army. That was largely wiped out in the fighting of the Summer. What replaced it was of -- to say the least -- variable quality. Like those Soviet militia divisions.

However some of these units survived -- and in doing so, acquired the equipment and OJT to emerge as pretty competent units. In fact, some became the basis of some of the Red Guard divisions.

So in TOAW terms we go from units with -- say -- 50% proficiency down to 10% proficiency and then climb back up to maybe 60% proficiency. I also suspect that STAVKA's ability to control these units and move them around oscillated similarly.

Your comments about the attrition divider may well be accurate. However, at the same time I'm inclined to be suspicious of relying on a single tool like that. For one, it just seems unreasonable that combat in one place would be bloodier than combat elsewhere. Naturally, if units are vaporizing all the time advances will go faster. But is that really what was happening? I'd prefer to see the actual causes analyzed and then simulated.

Else one winds up with a subtler version of the fallacies inherent in such scenarios as the disc 1940 or the work of those who rely on shock to produce all desired rates of advance. Sure, one can make the front move back and forth more or less as it did historically. But that is not the same as simulating what took place. I'm reminded of SPI's War in the East -- which as I recall, largely obtained the historical rate of advance in 1941 through the wonderfully simple device of simply not having most of the Red Army there at all. It may work, but it's not a simulation of much of anything.

This isn't to say that the attrition divider shouldn't be changed. Merely that it shouldn't be seen as a panacea.

< Message edited by ColinWright -- 7/13/2008 3:55:06 PM >


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RE: barbarossa-tactical - 7/13/2008 3:58:04 PM   
ColinWright

 

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One thing about the Eastern Front. It comprises a large enough body of source material for scenarios that some specialized tools designed for that theater would be in order. It's not like we're talking about making it possible to simulate whatever happened when the British put down the Afghan invasion of India in 1922.

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RE: barbarossa-tactical - 7/13/2008 4:03:15 PM   
ColinWright

 

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If, for example, research showed that Soviet 'blunders' in the Summer of 1941 and later often took the form of simply blindly attacking westward, then one could have a variation on formation re-org where the units of the formation would do just that.

Not that I've thought this concept through. Point is the programming to make that sort of tool available to designers would be justified for a theater as central to TOAW as the Eastern Front in World War Two -- and naturally, it might have applications elsewhere.

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RE: barbarossa-tactical - 7/13/2008 5:17:09 PM   
sPzAbt653


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'It is possible to hamper German supply in any way you wish. You can:
reduce or delay the entry and number of rail repair units and modify their repair capability,
reduce the number of automatic rail repair hexes per turn,
jigger the supply levels up and down over time to your heart's content with the Event Engine,
modify the total possible rail tonnage capability up or down over time, also with the Event Engine.
'


Some similar changes were made in 'Buzz's FitE mod'. German supply level was reduced greatly at turn 22 and recovered later. Supply radius was also modified for both sides.

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RE: barbarossa-tactical - 7/13/2008 5:30:27 PM   
sPzAbt653


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'Anyone for a mod with a further concentration of force north of the Pripyat and an additional AOK of 8-12 divisions?'


The Germans were not prepared for the deep advance, and this is reflected in the supply effects built into the scenario. However, if OKH had come to realise that the Soviets had excaped to the East, things would have changed. They would have to now plan for meeting an enemy in a prepared defense, after a several hundred mile advance. The Germans had left 54 divisions in Western Europe and the Balkans (including 22 first class three regimant divisions) and 40% of the their first line aircraft. If the Soviets had escaped from the frontier, the Germans would have brought many of these divisions, and part of the air strength, to the East Front.

Does anyone have a solid count of German formations? I have 398 in my notes, but I think that is after I added some to my mod. I'd rather not count them if someone has it.

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RE: barbarossa-tactical - 7/14/2008 1:43:39 AM   
sPzAbt653


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'...except that I can clearly see that it is using the default AD setting.'

Is the default setting of '10' designed for a specific turn length? I don't see anywhere in the manual that explains what the 'default' is designed for, but I gather from Bob's comments that it may be. I'm not clear on what it's effects are, either. But if a setting of '10' was intended for say, one day turns, I can see where it would have an effect. The manual describes the AD setting as having an effect on combat, increasing or decreasing losses.

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RE: barbarossa-tactical - 7/14/2008 3:33:09 AM   
wmorris

 

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quote:


Original: Curtis Lemay

And I think any Barbarossa scenario that ends with the Axis balked at Smolensk has some serious design problems. It is not demonstrating what the historical results would have been if the Soviets had just chosen to fall back further and faster.


I agree with this assertion. My opinion expressed above was that an organized defensive effort could have been offered starting at Smolensk, not that the Germans would be stopped there.

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RE: barbarossa-tactical - 7/14/2008 4:07:51 AM   
wmorris

 

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quote:


Original: sPzAbt653:

Some similar changes were made in 'Buzz's FitE mod'. German supply level was reduced greatly at turn 22 and recovered later. Supply radius was also modified for both sides.


I have heard the changes in this mod discussed, but have never seen the mod itself. Link?

My (somewhat rhetorical) question: Is this mod an attempt to optimize simulation, or was it to balance the first 30 or so turns to offer a 50-50 chance of taking Moscow between skilled "gamey" players?

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RE: barbarossa-tactical - 7/14/2008 10:30:35 AM   
sPzAbt653


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quote:

ORIGINAL: wmorris

My (somewhat rhetorical) question: Is this mod an attempt to optimize simulation, or was it to balance the first 30 or so turns to offer a 50-50 chance of taking Moscow between skilled "gamey" players?

I would say that it was an effort to improve the simulation. Much discussion is included in the 'Buzz's FitE Mod' thread, located down near the bottom of page 2 (if you haven't seen it yet). I don't think the mod was posted anywhere, only distributed thru e-mails. The version I have is from 11-07, so it may be dated. Try e-mailing Buzz for the latest, or I can send you what I have.

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RE: barbarossa-tactical - 7/14/2008 3:35:11 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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quote:

ORIGINAL: ColinWright
Your comments about the attrition divider may well be accurate. However, at the same time I'm inclined to be suspicious of relying on a single tool like that. For one, it just seems unreasonable that combat in one place would be bloodier than combat elsewhere. Naturally, if units are vaporizing all the time advances will go faster. But is that really what was happening? I'd prefer to see the actual causes analyzed and then simulated.

Else one winds up with a subtler version of the fallacies inherent in such scenarios as the disc 1940 or the work of those who rely on shock to produce all desired rates of advance. Sure, one can make the front move back and forth more or less as it did historically. But that is not the same as simulating what took place. I'm reminded of SPI's War in the East -- which as I recall, largely obtained the historical rate of advance in 1941 through the wonderfully simple device of simply not having most of the Red Army there at all. It may work, but it's not a simulation of much of anything.

This isn't to say that the attrition divider shouldn't be changed. Merely that it shouldn't be seen as a panacea.


Here's a fact: TOAW combat lethality is completely independent of turn interval.

So combats will incur the same average losses whether they are conducted using 2.5 hour turn intervals or if they are conducted using whole-week turn intervals. All else being equal, that means that scenarios using 2.5 hour turn intervals will be 28 times as bloody as scenarios using whole-week turn intervals. That's clearly absurd, and exactly what the AD setting was designed to address.

The default AD setting is completely arbitrary. And its setting affects both sides equally. This is unlike shock, where the default setting of 100 is inherently neutral, and a change affects only one side. Since it's arbitrary, there is nothing inherently "right" about the default setting, and adjusting it to find the correct value for a given situation isn't "fallacious" - it is an essential design task.

Norm didn't provide any instruction on what the AD values should be - he left that to us. But, the full-day turn interval is the midpoint of the intervals. Coupled with my trial-and-error experiences, that leads me to conclude that for most cases the default will tend to work best with full-day turn intervals and needs to be decreased accordingly for longer intervals and increased accordingly for shorter ones. FITE uses the half-week turn interval.

Of course there are situational exceptions. That's why the setting determination needs to be made experimentally. And, of course, other factors need to be considered as well (I listed a bunch of them). But, thus far, the experiments done on FITE suggest that it is a candidate for a reduction in AD setting.

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RE: barbarossa-tactical - 7/14/2008 8:35:29 PM   
sPzAbt653


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Curtis Lemay


... for most cases the default will tend to work best with full-day turn intervals and needs to be decreased accordingly for longer intervals and increased accordingly for shorter ones.


I understand that this is not arbitrary, and I think my silly brain gets it. Generally, one day turns calculate 1x losses, so 2 day turns would calculate 2x losses, and half day turns would calculate .5x losses (if the attrition divider is set accordingly). If a half-week turn has the AD set to a one-day turn, the calculated losses would be undesireably low, resulting in a possible stagnant front, for the game scale. But I think I found something contradictory. In 'Plan Martin', with one week turns, D. McBride says :

3.91: Attrition Divider: 35 (losses are around 25% of the default setting, often accepted as the norm for one week turns)

I'm not asking anyone to explain someone elses statement, but this does seem opposite to my interpretation. Although as Bob stated, there are other factors to be taken into consideration. It seems for a setting that is so critical, there should be some guidelines.

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RE: barbarossa-tactical - 7/14/2008 8:54:43 PM   
sPzAbt653


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Umm .. I got that pretty wrong. 'Plan Martin' is Half Day turns. So I think the designer was saying that the AD is set to 25% of the accepted norm for one week turns, I think.

There should still be some guidelines for silly fools like me.

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RE: barbarossa-tactical - 7/15/2008 2:45:34 AM   
wmorris

 

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quote:


Original: sPzAbt653

I would say that it was an effort to improve the simulation. Much discussion is included in the 'Buzz's FitE Mod' thread, located down near the bottom of page 2 (if you haven't seen it yet). I don't think the mod was posted anywhere, only distributed thru e-mails. The version I have is from 11-07, so it may be dated. Try e-mailing Buzz for the latest, or I can send you what I have.


I mus be really sleepy or exceptionally dim, I cant find the thread...

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RE: barbarossa-tactical - 7/15/2008 8:21:08 AM   
sPzAbt653


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http://www.matrixgames.com/forums/tm.asp?m=1401109

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RE: barbarossa-tactical - 7/15/2008 8:58:31 AM   
Ian R

 

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ah, thanks

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