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The whole "national moral" thing

 
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The whole "national moral" thing - 6/26/2011 4:08:26 PM   
Klydon


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My usual disclaimer about not being a "fanboy" for a given side.

After giving this some thought, I have had some increasing frustration with this mechanic. Yeah, I know it just isn't "moral", but rather a combination of skill, etc.

It can be assumed one of the reasons the Germans have falling moral is because as the war went along, their replacements dropped in quality, etc. The other thing is to ensure that the German army of 1942 was historic in that there was no way it could match the 1941 invaders in terms of capabilities, etc. All of what happen is based on the casualties the Germans took as the campaign wore on. There is no mechanic tying any of it to German casualty thresholds. At the same time, the Russians get the benefit of no matter what happens, nothing happens to them. Not the number of casualties they take, not the fall of Moscow or anything else. They stay the same no matter what. In the real campaign, the Russians lost control of several sections in the south during the German 1942 offensive. There were surrenders and Russian units were not obeying Stavka's orders of "stand and fight". They were running for the hills to get away from the Germans.

News flash. You could leave the national "moral" the same and the German army of 1942 will never come close to what the 1941 army was. The reason is the 1941 army has a good number of divisions that are elite level (85 or better). This applies to both infantry and panzer/motorized forces. By the end of winter, most, if not all of these divisions will no longer be elite just because of how the game works in terms of replacements, etc. On top of that, depending on losses, the German ToE's will not be at 100% so that is two things the 1942 army doesn't have that the 1941 army did have (41 = many elite units, all units at 100% ToE, 42 few if any elite units and army not up to 100% ToE).

Edit: *Note: elite units mentioned above are 86+ moral units.*

So what to propose on this:

1. German national "moral" needs to be tied to German casualty thresholds. Casualties is what caused the decline in the proficiency of the German army, not the page turning on the calender.

2. While I agree casualties are pretty much ignored in the Russian army and played no real role in their "moral", there do need to be some things in game that will cause the Russians to take a "moral" hit. The loss of Moscow is an obvious choice. I am not looking for a big hit. 5 points is good enough. If a person wants to include another, I would say Stalingrad would be a good second choice at 5 points as well.


< Message edited by Klydon -- 6/26/2011 4:54:05 PM >
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RE: The whole "national moral" thing - 6/26/2011 4:54:13 PM   
jzardos


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Well I had posted before about my issues with WitE 'MORALE'. The way the game works now, after the winter of 41-42, the Germans will have infantry (mobile if not protected in cities/urban) with average 60-65 morale. There's a chance it could go up each turn (not great chance) to 70 in 42.

Never been happy with morale now in game. Winning battles it's still very difficult to get morale +1, but lose a battle and the -1 morale is automatic. I think the chance to gain morale should consider the previous battle morale gained or not. So if by the 5th win if you didn't gain a morale for the previous 4 battle wins, that 5th win the +1 morale would be automatic. So failing morale gain for a battle win would carry over and improve the next battle win chance.

disclaimer.. rant coming.
Also, I have foreign national friends that feel insulted by the way the game assigns morale to Rom units. Given them lower exp, sure that's fine. Give them some out-dated equipment, sure that's fine. But this BS (&*!#%!#*^) morale of 50 is just insulting and I really hope the developers decide to wake up and raise this into 60's. Shame on you. The morale and even the darn WITE morale (yeah yeah yeah I know it's not the same), but it's still low and you've pissed many people off with this choice, including me. If you read up on how well some of these ROM units performed as I did when reading Mainstein's 'Lost Victories', you'll wake up to the historical fact they didn't have the crap 50 morale WITE gives them. Had to rant...

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RE: The whole "national moral" thing - 6/26/2011 5:16:42 PM   
Keke


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I fully agree on all points, including the rant about Romanian units, whose morale is now based more on German and Soviet myths than anything else.

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RE: The whole "national moral" thing - 6/26/2011 5:30:01 PM   
Q-Ball


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In my view "Morale" does not represent "Bravery". Certainly Romanians fought bravely, as did Italians and others that in game terms have low game Morale. But I don't think Morale represents "bravery".

What it represents is an overall rating of military efficiency. Beyond equipment, this is a function of training, tactics, general staff quality, the overall quality of the officer corps, the quality of manpower being drawn from, and national will. The early Wehrmacht ranked extremely high in training, tactics, general staff, and quality of it's officer corps, much higher than the Soviets or even Western Allies. The Wehrmacht slowly degraded over time, as it had to incorporate less-desirable manpower, and as it's leadership quality was diluted through losses, and a general moral rot as it became increasingly Nazi-fied, at the expense of it's professional officer class.

Look at the Italians. They were brave soldiers. They fought well in the desert, despite abysmal leadership, an officer corps that advanced you more on nepotism than merit, poor staff work, and an unclear national objective. By the time the Allies invaded Sicily, the average Italian was asking themselves why they were shooting at Americans, a country where many Italians had emigrated to and was looked upon positively. As a result, they surrendered in droves; I don't think this was "Cowardly"; I would call it "Sensible".

I think the low morale of the Romanians is justified. That doesn't mean at all that Romanian soldiers were cowardly, far from it. It means they had poor tactics, not very good training, and above all an officer corps that promoted more on social and political connections than merit. That is not a failure of Romanians, it is a failure of the 1941 institution called the Romanian Army.

The Soviets get a bump simply from getting rid of the political commissars, which did much to increase staff and leadership efficiency.

I'm fine with the way things are, basically, and think National Morale properly simulates gradual changes in military efficiency.

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RE: The whole "national moral" thing - 6/26/2011 6:02:24 PM   
ComradeP

 

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Romanian national morale is not 50, but 35. At the least, it should be 50 as in my opinion there's no real reason for national morale ever to be that much below 50 at least not with the current refit mechanics. The Soviet national morale of 40 in 1941 doesn't matter too much as they can get to 50 fairly easily through refitting. It mostly hinders experience gain. The Romanians have a real problem as their best units can't really ever have a morale higher than 65 (national morale+30) as after that their morale has a chance to decrease each turn.

In a vs. AI game I'm trying now, I've made all non-Finnish minor Axis units elite, to boost their "real" national morale.

We're testing experimental changes to Soviet national morale currently, so maybe something good will also happen to minor Axis morale at some point.



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RE: The whole "national moral" thing - 6/26/2011 6:25:08 PM   
JAMiAM

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Klydon
News flash. You could leave the national "moral" the same and the German army of 1942 will never come close to what the 1941 army was.


While I agree with this, you are simply wrong regarding the cause and effect in the following statements.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Klydon
The reason is the 1941 army has a good number of divisions that are elite level (85 or better). This applies to both infantry and panzer/motorized forces. By the end of winter, most, if not all of these divisions will no longer be elite just because of how the game works in terms of replacements, etc.


The reason is indeed that, given any degree of competence of the Soviet player, Axis unit morale, particularly among the high morale German units will be likely severely degraded. However, and I will bold this due to you repeating much the same fallacy in another thread it is NOT because how the game works in terms of replacements.

Replacements come in at experience levels close to (but generally below) the National Morale, but will train up to the unit morale level. It is the current unit morale level that puts an upper bound on the experience level gained through training of the components. It is the overall degradation of the Axis unit morales during the winter, and the lack of any real non-combat method to boost them over the Spring of 42 that makes the 42 Army a pale shadow of the 41 Army.

There are some aspects of the morale system that I do not care for, but I didn't feel that the above factually incorrect statements should be left unaddressed.


< Message edited by JAMiAM -- 6/26/2011 6:39:41 PM >

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RE: The whole "national moral" thing - 6/26/2011 6:47:08 PM   
ComradeP

 

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Theoretically, you do have sort of a problem if you have a ~90 morale unit and it's 1945 as if you take significant losses, the replacements will require months of training to get back to 90 experience as they come in at a significantly lower experience level than the unit's morale level, as experience gain is only 1 point per week unless the unit participates in a battle (which in turn increases the chance for casualties, especially in mid-late war for the Axis).

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RE: The whole "national moral" thing - 6/26/2011 7:09:41 PM   
Klydon


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@JaMiAM: My bad to a point on the replacements, but I still wonder if there is an issue. The German army of 1942 is going to be worse than the 1941 army simply because of the blizzard effects on German moral which they never fully recover from in most cases. The other thing for the German army of 1942 is it will not be up to 100% ToE. This all takes place regardless of the mechanic of the national "moral" going down.

In history, the German army of 1942 never compared to the 1941 version due to a couple of factors. One of the biggest was the loss of material and mobility in terms of horses and trucks lost. The in theater tank strength to open the 1942 summer campaign was close to what the Germans invaded with and the tanks were better quality, but it was watered down since there were more panzer divisions in theater than what started the campaign. The Germans also lost a tremendous number of experienced and capable officers during the 1941 campaign along with the overall casualties their combat units suffered. A lot of these were veterans of earlier campaigns in the Balkans or the West. My point is the national "moral" for the Germans is pretty much directly linked to the amount of casualties they suffered as time went along and the Germans inability to replace them with the same quality of replacements, not based on some time line. I would have no issue at all if it was possible to take a snap shot of German casualties on December 31 of each year and once each threshold was reached, German "moral" would go down accordingly. If the Germans suffer casualties at a higher rate than historical, then they run into issues that much faster. If they don't suffer the casualties at a historical pace, then their ability in terms of national "moral" should not degrade at a historical pace.



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RE: The whole "national moral" thing - 6/26/2011 7:19:22 PM   
ComradeP

 

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~70 morale infantry divisions are perfectly capable of launching an offensive, especially as Soviet units are still of a pretty low quality. The divisions not being up to 100% TOE strength is more of a problem, mostly because it's difficult to remove Soviets from fortified positions with mediocre CV units.

Keep in mind that the Germans are not just fighting in the east, but also in other theatres, so the national morale doesn't just go down due to what happens in the East, but also due to what happens in the West, so your focus on operations on the Eastern Front when it comes to determining national morale isn't going to work, as it isn't historical.

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RE: The whole "national moral" thing - 6/26/2011 7:47:02 PM   
randallw

 

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The V 1.04.10 of the game made the game so that losing a battle does not automatically cause a 1 point loss for a unit ( in case someone is still thinking that ).

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RE: The whole "national moral" thing - 6/26/2011 8:43:27 PM   
Klydon


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@ComradeP: Two things. First, one of the big things I am talking about is mobility in enemy territory. This is strictly a function of elite (86+) moral. The second is what you say about other theaters is true to a point, but not for 1942 in the strictest of terms. Other theaters only became an issue from 1943 on with the disaster in Tunisa and then the Italian campaign/eventual war in the west. By that standard, there should be no national moral adjustments for 1942. Regardless of the losses in other theaters, let us say those remain historical. (The Axis can't affect what happens in other theaters in this version of the game unlike the old WIR). It is still possible to base a national "moral" decline compared to what happen historically. Suffer more losses than historical as the Axis, your "moral" goes down faster than what the game presents. Suffer fewer losses and it goes down slower than the game presents.

I know national moral going down is not specifically looked at as a function of casualties in game when the designers came up with the concept. My point is what is it based on (I theorized overall casualties and the German ability to replace them). Also, why is there nothing at all in game that can affect Russian "moral"? It doesn't matter what losses they take or what is captured. Is there not some point where there would be a decline before a final collaspe? (As shown by the Russians are just fine and go from that to losing one more urban area and then the game is over in an assumed Rusisan collaspe).

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RE: The whole "national moral" thing - 6/26/2011 10:56:17 PM   
DTurtle

 

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I wonder how many of these arguments about national morale would go away if it was simply renamed to "military effeciveness" or something similar.

The term "morale" seems greatly misleading from its actual effects in-game.

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RE: The whole "national moral" thing - 6/26/2011 11:19:48 PM   
Keke


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quote:

ORIGINAL: DTurtle

I wonder how many of these arguments about national morale would go away if it was simply renamed to "military effeciveness" or something similar.


Renaming won't change the issue.

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The eternal privilege of those who never act themselves: to interrogate, be dissatisfied, find fault.

- A. Solzhenitsyn


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RE: The whole "national moral" thing - 6/27/2011 2:36:22 AM   
Klydon


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No, renaming it won't matter and sort of why I have been doing the "moral" thing instead of just calling it moral. 

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RE: The whole "national moral" thing - 6/27/2011 2:45:36 PM   
jaw

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Klydon

My usual disclaimer about not being a "fanboy" for a given side.

After giving this some thought, I have had some increasing frustration with this mechanic. Yeah, I know it just isn't "moral", but rather a combination of skill, etc.

It can be assumed one of the reasons the Germans have falling moral is because as the war went along, their replacements dropped in quality, etc. The other thing is to ensure that the German army of 1942 was historic in that there was no way it could match the 1941 invaders in terms of capabilities, etc. All of what happen is based on the casualties the Germans took as the campaign wore on. There is no mechanic tying any of it to German casualty thresholds. At the same time, the Russians get the benefit of no matter what happens, nothing happens to them. Not the number of casualties they take, not the fall of Moscow or anything else. They stay the same no matter what. In the real campaign, the Russians lost control of several sections in the south during the German 1942 offensive. There were surrenders and Russian units were not obeying Stavka's orders of "stand and fight". They were running for the hills to get away from the Germans.

News flash. You could leave the national "moral" the same and the German army of 1942 will never come close to what the 1941 army was. The reason is the 1941 army has a good number of divisions that are elite level (85 or better). This applies to both infantry and panzer/motorized forces. By the end of winter, most, if not all of these divisions will no longer be elite just because of how the game works in terms of replacements, etc. On top of that, depending on losses, the German ToE's will not be at 100% so that is two things the 1942 army doesn't have that the 1941 army did have (41 = many elite units, all units at 100% ToE, 42 few if any elite units and army not up to 100% ToE).

Edit: *Note: elite units mentioned above are 86+ moral units.*

So what to propose on this:

1. German national "moral" needs to be tied to German casualty thresholds. Casualties is what caused the decline in the proficiency of the German army, not the page turning on the calender.

2. While I agree casualties are pretty much ignored in the Russian army and played no real role in their "moral", there do need to be some things in game that will cause the Russians to take a "moral" hit. The loss of Moscow is an obvious choice. I am not looking for a big hit. 5 points is good enough. If a person wants to include another, I would say Stalingrad would be a good second choice at 5 points as well.



While the concept of a "casualty threshold" sounds good in theory, in practice it would actually lead to unhistorical behavior on the part of the German player. Historically Hitler had absolutely no sensitivity to the casualties the German Army was suffering and conducted operations without regard to losses. By introducing a casualty threshold basis for changes in national morale you would be encouraging the German player to minimize casualties by becoming unhistorically conservative in his operations. The fixed changes to national morale encourage players to act more like Hitler and go all out for victory in 1941 and 1942. It may offend your sensibilities but fixed changes make for a better game.

As you correctly point out above "national morale" really represents the investment in training at all levels a nation makes. Nobody did this better than the Germans, especially at the small unit level. As the Germans reduced this investment in training to crank out replacements faster the quality of the replacement gradually eroded. With the exception of the Finns, Germany's Axis Allies and the Soviets never made a similar investment in training so their national morale levels are stagnant or improve only slightly. The Finns are at a somewhat artifically high national morale level throughout the War in order to discourage the Soviet player from mounting a major effort against Finland too early in the War. Like the fixed German decline in national morale, it is a game device to make the game play more historically.

Finally forget the idea about national morale being affected by cities being captured. Despite its name, national morale has nothing to do with the willingness of soldiers to fight. The morale level of units in the field is affected by combat but that has no influence on national morale.

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RE: The whole "national moral" thing - 6/27/2011 3:21:45 PM   
herwin

 

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So it's actually 'troop replacement quality.'

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RE: The whole "national moral" thing - 6/27/2011 10:59:46 PM   
Klydon


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@jaw: Good post and thanks for a lot of the clarifications. However, there are some issues.

First, is that what you say about the fixed nature of German casualties is true. A German player will likely become more cautious if casualty thresholds were used. On the other side of the coin, what would the effect be on the Russian player? Maybe make them more aggressive in trying to ramp up German casualties perhaps?

At least in terms of Moscow resulting in national moral loss, I wonder if it can be justified in the loss of the efficiency of the Red Army in terms of its main communications hub, etc. That would be the easiest and even if it is conjecture at this point, it would still have grounds to be in a discussion. The Russians lost C&C in part of the south with units either refusing to stand and fight (they ran) or surrendering.

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RE: The whole "national moral" thing - 6/27/2011 11:45:58 PM   
heliodorus04


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My issue with Jaw's well-intended point that it could lead to a-historical incentives is that the game is already replete with those.
Leningrad can be considered an a-historical incentive in that it saves AGN in the winter.
Soviets have tons of a-historical incentives to run east at a particular pace to avoid casualties, and a-historical incentives not to stand and fight, etc., etc.

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RE: The whole "national moral" thing - 6/28/2011 1:12:09 PM   
jaw

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Klydon

@jaw: Good post and thanks for a lot of the clarifications. However, there are some issues.

First, is that what you say about the fixed nature of German casualties is true. A German player will likely become more cautious if casualty thresholds were used. On the other side of the coin, what would the effect be on the Russian player? Maybe make them more aggressive in trying to ramp up German casualties perhaps?

At least in terms of Moscow resulting in national moral loss, I wonder if it can be justified in the loss of the efficiency of the Red Army in terms of its main communications hub, etc. That would be the easiest and even if it is conjecture at this point, it would still have grounds to be in a discussion. The Russians lost C&C in part of the south with units either refusing to stand and fight (they ran) or surrendering.



I don't think the Russian needs incentives to kill Germans, just opportunities which come in the winters of 1941 and 1942. A casualty threshold would have little influence on Russian operations since the game system taken as a whole (national morale, replacements, TOEs) pretty much determines how aggressive the Russian player can be. For example, I can't see the Russian player launching a major offensive in the summer of 1942 in the hope of infliciting enough German casualties to reduce German national morale. It would fail a cost/benefit analysis.

Since Moscow never fell historically no one knows what effect it would have had on the fighting morale of the Red Army but we do know that the Soviet government and military were preparing for its fall so I'm inclined to argue that the game already models the negative consequences in loss of population, loss or dislocation of industry and distruption of rail communications.

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RE: The whole "national moral" thing - 6/28/2011 1:37:44 PM   
jaw

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: heliodorus04

My issue with Jaw's well-intended point that it could lead to a-historical incentives is that the game is already replete with those.
Leningrad can be considered an a-historical incentive in that it saves AGN in the winter.
Soviets have tons of a-historical incentives to run east at a particular pace to avoid casualties, and a-historical incentives not to stand and fight, etc., etc.



Leningrad has been a "problem" in every Eastern Front game I've ever played. If you design the game such that Leningrad is too weak the German will go after it everytime since the reward for capturing it is so great. If you make Leningrad too strong, then the German won't even attempt capture sending 4th Panzer Group towards Moscow causing other unintended consequences. Finding the right balance is extremely difficult especially in a computer game where one side may be a human brain and the other a collection of computer code. In short, Leningrad is a design problem not an example of unhistorical incentives.

Likewise historical hindsight and a ridiculous amount of operational intelligence that the real commanders never possessed causes the Soviet player to retreat much faster than historical. You can't erase a player's knowledge of the War before the game begins so there is an automatic bias to avoid presumed historical mistakes. If we had real fog of war where we were lucky to even know what units were confronting us let alone their capabilities no one would want to play the game. All that micromanagement players get so fixated on would be pointless when you couldn't even say with certainty how good your own units were and had almost no idea how good the enemy was. Operations that seem stupid to us in hindsight make a lot more sense when you understand how little the actual commanders knew of the situation they were confronted with.

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RE: The whole "national moral" thing - 6/28/2011 2:24:36 PM   
herwin

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: jaw


quote:

ORIGINAL: heliodorus04

My issue with Jaw's well-intended point that it could lead to a-historical incentives is that the game is already replete with those.
Leningrad can be considered an a-historical incentive in that it saves AGN in the winter.
Soviets have tons of a-historical incentives to run east at a particular pace to avoid casualties, and a-historical incentives not to stand and fight, etc., etc.



Leningrad has been a "problem" in every Eastern Front game I've ever played. If you design the game such that Leningrad is too weak the German will go after it everytime since the reward for capturing it is so great. If you make Leningrad too strong, then the German won't even attempt capture sending 4th Panzer Group towards Moscow causing other unintended consequences. Finding the right balance is extremely difficult especially in a computer game where one side may be a human brain and the other a collection of computer code. In short, Leningrad is a design problem not an example of unhistorical incentives.

Likewise historical hindsight and a ridiculous amount of operational intelligence that the real commanders never possessed causes the Soviet player to retreat much faster than historical. You can't erase a player's knowledge of the War before the game begins so there is an automatic bias to avoid presumed historical mistakes. If we had real fog of war where we were lucky to even know what units were confronting us let alone their capabilities no one would want to play the game. All that micromanagement players get so fixated on would be pointless when you couldn't even say with certainty how good your own units were and had almost no idea how good the enemy was. Operations that seem stupid to us in hindsight make a lot more sense when you understand how little the actual commanders knew of the situation they were confronted with.


To conduct a successful fighting delay or retreat is one of the most difficult challenges a commander can be faced with. Basically, you want to force your opponent to deploy as frequently as possible and yet not be there once the opponent deploys. It's much easier to do if you have higher tactical/operational mobility. If you let the opponent advance too quickly, he doesn't use as much supply, and he has it once you do stop.

Leningrad and Moscow were more than political goals. Taking them would have given the German Army winter bases, greatly eased logistics, and a whole lot of loot. Capture would have wiped out a large part of the Soviet industry base. They were places the Soviet Union had to stand up and fight for.

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RE: The whole "national moral" thing - 6/28/2011 8:30:34 PM   
Chris10


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To throw in my 2 cents on the raised issue I would like to remember that the german forces in the east fought with a Über-Human dedication an bravery cause they where scared that the russian "sub-human" could reach their homes and burn down anything and rape their women etc etc. That was what has been told them by the propaganda and by their superiors.
On the southern Front German forces where outnumbered 7:1 right after Stalingrad, yet managed to defend the lines and take away 2 more victorys in beginning 43 crushing over 10 russian divisions. Morale was never really an issue on the eastern front otherwise the Wehrmacht would have fallen apart already in Winter 41 without winter equipment and over 40C minus 0.
Supply was the critical factor and replacement/maintenance of armour.
These 2 factors should become more critical for the german side and the loss of important key points should affect soviet morale too





< Message edited by Chris10 -- 6/28/2011 8:32:57 PM >

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RE: The whole "national moral" thing - 6/28/2011 8:49:41 PM   
Mehring

 

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quote:

To throw in my 2 cents on the raised issue I would like to remember that the german forces in the east fought with a Über-Human dedication an bravery cause they where scared that the russian "sub-human" could reach their homes and burn down anything and rape their women etc etc.


And the Russians, whose homes the Germans had reached and burned down, their women raped and population slaughtered and enslaved were not provoked to fight with 'Uber-Human bravery' (sorry my keyboard doesn't do umlauts)? Either they did and bravery does not explain the difference in combat ability or fear of burning, rape and pillage itself is not a general explanation for bravery.

Ever stress tested your arguments?

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“The end of democracy and the defeat of the American Revolution will occur when government falls into the hands of lending institutions and moneyed incorporations.”
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(in reply to Chris10)
Post #: 23
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