From: The Divided Nations of Earth
These are my thoughts on the matter. No ill feelings to anyone on what I type here.
We will never know if combat is random. We will never get a redo (ie never have the same exact people, weapons, weather, plans experience etc in a second battle). I myself have gotten mad at the computer over the randomness of some battles.
In my belief, there is more than just quality and quanity in battle. I would like to believe in quality, leadership, training, espirt de corp, experience, and something that is call Murphy's Law. History has shown many battles and wars won that contridict these thoughts. Ie Vietnam, Russian Afghan war, American Rev war under trained, under quality troops etc beat the well trained, equiped troops of there enemys.
As Herwin stated you cannot simulate combat, whether its in a video game, training mission. To many variables that can't be determined until the bullets start flying. It is then that leadership, training, experience, heroism (espirt de corp) and quality of equipment, tatics, murphy etc will decide the outcome of the battle and war.
A long post short. There are variable that can't be programmed because of them being unknown or unable to be put into the program.
Granted IRL no event can be recreated perfectly. However, computer games will ALWAYS try. The question is not whether an historical event CAN be recreated or not but one of HOW will it be recreated. Do you use randomness to simulate combat and how much randomness should be used? I remember all the complaints about Civilization I and how a Phalanx sometimes defeated a Tank. Yes there are seemingly random, unpredictable factors that play in combat but how much randomness is too much? Should the Japanese occasionally win at Midway? Should the Germans occasionally conquer the Soviet Union? If so, how often?
It seems to me, especially on the macro scale, where you factor in millions of random events, that things should average out to where the results largely coincide with predictions. It drives me crazy when a game predicts 2:1 results and NEVER produces them, instead producing 1:2 or 5:1 or 1:5 or whatever.
Commander Europe at War does this and that is what got me started originally on this question. I realize this is not the CEAW forum but I've heard similiar arguments here about how likely it is that Japan would have invaded Australia, etc. And since the people here seem to be, on average, more knowledgable about WW2 than the CEAW forum I thought I would bring it up here.