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The armchair strategists club of temptations – Hartwig (A) vs. Aztez (J), no Aztez

 
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The armchair strategists club of temptations – Hartwig ... - 7/19/2011 10:44:40 PM   
hartwig.modrow

 

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Gentlemen,

outside my window, there’s my lawn. Maybe it would be the right thing to do to go tend it a bit, rather than pretending I’ll do better than Nimitz and assuming command of the Allied forces in the Pacific Theater.

Unfortunately for my lawn, however, I think that tending one’s lawn is boring, whereas pretending to improve on Nimitz by playing AE is exciting. Although, on second thoughts, maybe that’s fortunate for my lawn after all, because I am not at all good at gardening. Which instantaneously leads on to the third thought that maybe I am not better at playing AE than at gardening either, so maybe lawn tending would be the thing to do after all.

But in spite of my lawn’s grass root campaign, it is not to be – as my previous PBEM opponents had decided not to continue our games for various reasons a number of weeks / months ago I was that deprived of PBEM turns that I just fell for the temptation of Aztez’s request for an opponent. To make things worse, he had picked the 1942 scenario by Nikademus, which I think is an interesting one for reasons I will provide in a later post, and he obliged to all of my requests/wishes – so there was no way to resist taking a bite from this apple. Really.

Aztez created a house rule that writing an AAR is obligatory, and he started his a while ago, even though he has just started work at turn one. So it’s about time I comply with that rule, which is what this post is about. Next, I guess I’ll need to do some homework in order to figure out how far scen 1 or scen 2 strategies need to be modified for Nikademus’ scenario.

Welcome aboard everyone !

Thanks for your interest

Hartwig




< Message edited by hartwig.modrow -- 11/20/2011 10:57:33 PM >
Post #: 1
National aim - 7/21/2011 10:53:35 AM   
hartwig.modrow

 

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Gentlemen,

I started planning yesterday, and I would like to include the planning process in the AAR as well. Maybe someone will comment on the approach I use , identify my mistakes and has suggestions for improvement.

First thing to do was defining a national goal. It took me a while, but finally, after some inspiration, I came up with this:

To ensure that Japan will not remain a menace to world peace and to turn Japan into a peaceful nation beneficial to our policy according to the principles of the UN charter.

Now, that sounds like it will get me tons of votes once I have won this war and run for presidency

Looks like there’s got to be an invasion of the homelands or a surrender in order to achieve that, because clearly only the first part of it may be achieved by strategic bombing.

Thanks for your interest

Hartwig

(in reply to hartwig.modrow)
Post #: 2
Strategic musings part I - 7/21/2011 2:42:44 PM   
hartwig.modrow

 

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Gentlemen,

Now that I have clarified the national aim (and specifically that it is not winning the neighborhood's home owner association's most beautiful lawn competition), I will start defining the strategic approach that will hopefully allow me to realize this aim.

As a basis for that, at first I usually try to do some analysis of my strengths and weaknesses and try to identify what I believe to be essential for my opponent in order to know where to place my blows and what to deny him.

The resulting strategy can most likely be summarized in very short words. (For an excellent, very brief summary of national goal, strategy and implementation, see jrcar’s current AAR if you are entitled to). But as of yet, my strategic approach is not yet set, thus rather than receiveing a brief statement for now you may join me on a segment if the march along the long road to a strategy.

I started getting myself acquainted with this scenario –more specifically, the Allied side of it- a bit yesterday, reviewing assets and dispositions of the side I play. Here are a few general first impressions:

The general situation is quite interesting, because I think one cannot just play this in a similar way as May 1942 in a campaign game. The main difference for the Allied side is that usually, by May 1942 I have pilots that have gained experience, troops that have increased their experience, upgraded their equipment and a base infrastructure that is capable of supporting operations I want to conduct. Also, I have troops shipped to the places where I want them to be and adequate shipping assets at the respective places of the map.

Here, at first sight this does not really seem to be the case, I have a lot of troops sitting where I do *not* want them and almost all shipping is concentrated in the “national main ports”, and exp, morale and TOEs seem to be those of December 41 or very similar (although I have a pile of convoys (perhaps all that are scheduled to arrive before the starting date) sitting at Capetown which will dump their equipment into my pools in 3 days (one of them actually in 30 days, I wonder whether that’s a typo in the database).

Enabling a quick change of the starting conditions will be a demanding task, and developing a proper LCU upgrading schedule by optimized device distribution will be even more important than it is in games starting in December 41.

Also, it may turn out that base infrastructure and ability to provide decent troops at a given location will limit possible first operations to just a few approaches. Even though this consideration relates to the operational rather than the strategic level, it may play a role for my choice of strategy in this case, if there is a possible early operation that supports one viable strategy but not the other, because I think that waiting for things to improve may be just what the Japan player needs in order to execute his plans in a controlled way.

In addition, I am currently not yet certain what to make of the Japanese situation, especially with respect to economy. It looks like there is especially one advantage as compared to a stock game: Japan is in control of 100% intact facilities in the DEI (which I believe is usually not to be the case in May 1942). In other words, whereas most likely starting positions are less advanced than one might typically expect in a PBEM and economy has been less strongly expanded/modified, a considerable potential to support the next phase of operations and to stockpile oil and resources as well as adapt the economy in Japan may exist. We will see how this influences things and whether we can make Japan overextend.

I’ll keep you updated about further ideas.

Thanks for your interest, and feel free to comment.

Hartwig




< Message edited by hartwig.modrow -- 7/21/2011 2:43:06 PM >

(in reply to hartwig.modrow)
Post #: 3
Interlude - 7/30/2011 8:29:34 PM   
hartwig.modrow

 

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Gentlemen,

sorry about the lack of updates. Worse than the pains of turn 1 in a hitherto unplayed scenario turns out to be that I am in process of moving and found out that my access to the forums does not work when I use my UMTS stick. Therefore, I apologize for the absence of posts. They will most likely stay sporadic until the first week of August is over ("regular" internet connection will supposedly be installed by then). Specifically, maps will be quite rare - unless, of course, someone out there has an idea how to overcome the problem. It is not dependent on the browser I use.

In any case, today turn 1 was sent back to my opponent, so the game is on, and we will see what happens next. Depending on how quickly aztez manages to send it back, I may be able to comment some more on my take on starting situation, strategy and implementation thereof tomorrow or so.

So far, I did not tell you about the house rules of this game:

* 2 Day turns
* AAR's (restricted for both us until the game ends)
* PP must be payed for restricted units (Manchuko /India)
* If China will fall we need to discuss how to handle those troops there.
* No resourse bombings at China (Both sides)
* No 4E naval strike missions below 15k feet
* Max. alltitude for any type of an aircraft 30 000 feet
* No reliable torpedoes for allied submarines
* No auto expand / repair factories and no auto upgrades for ships and aircraft
* PDU ON

To make things a little less calculable, we play with reinforcement variable +-30/days. This required postponing some of the finetuning of ship distribution till next turn, so that one will mean a lot of work as well.

Ok, that's the update. Thanks for your interest - I hope I will be able to provide more analysis and some action soon.

Hartwig

(in reply to hartwig.modrow)
Post #: 4
RE: Interlude - 7/31/2011 12:34:17 AM   
Alfred

 

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Wasn't it a bit drastic to move home just to get away from mowing the lawn?

Alfred

(in reply to hartwig.modrow)
Post #: 5
Excursus - 7/31/2011 9:00:30 AM   
hartwig.modrow

 

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Alfred,

welcome to this thread - I hope I'll have you aboard as a regular reader and maybe even poster.

quote:

ORIGINAL: Alfred

Wasn't it a bit drastic to move home just to get away from mowing the lawn?

Alfred


Well, as the "Panzeradmiral" used to say: "Nicht kleckern, sondern klotzen!".

Unfortunately, the lawn seems to know that as well - now I've got an even bigger lawn.

Confidentially, in the private refuge these forums are, I might inform you that for this reason I am trying to upgrade the time sink WitG (War in the Garden) to WitG:AE (War in the Garden: Allied edition). To do so, I bought a new power mower with drive and an electric starter in order to remove any excuse for my Allies (wife, parents in law) to fight the lawn while I take care of other time sinks . At least my father in law seems to love the machine so far, whenever he's around he is very eager to operate it.

Hartwig

(in reply to Alfred)
Post #: 6
Action or the lack thereof - 8/2/2011 6:38:30 AM   
hartwig.modrow

 

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Gentlemen,

a very brief update due to the internet access restrictions mentioned above:

a) I received the first turn on Sunday evening and ran it. Hardly any action, two or three bombing runs in China and a hapless Chinese LCU was beaten up by the Japanese. I guess everyone is moving assets around to get into striking position or defensive posture. Lots of recon flights conducted by the enemy.

b) Speaking of striking position: I hereby announce the formation of the 1st imperial shock army. There are a number of highly experienced Commonwealth LCUs on the map that may be provided relatively quickly with the latest equipment. These valiant men will form the Sword of St. George that will chop the evil dragon of the rising sun into pieces. I am still in process of working out how adequate air support can be provided.

c) from b) you may conclude that I believe that it is necessary to get into contact with the enemy early on. In fact, I believe there may be reasons why in this scenario attritional warfare may begin to work in favor of the Allied side at an earlier point of time than usual. Evidently, this already relates to the strategic approach and needs some more detailed explanation, which I will (hopefully) manage to provide once my regular internet connection is working.

For now, thank you for following along!

Hartwig


(in reply to hartwig.modrow)
Post #: 7
Strategic musings continued - 8/6/2011 7:23:22 AM   
hartwig.modrow

 

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Gentlemen,

good news - my DSL internet access is working again, so updates should become a bit more regular and more extensive.

I provided aztez with the turn on the evening of August 3rd, and I guess/hope I will get it back today, because in the next few days till about Thursday it looks like I have a bit more time available than usual, becasue wife and kids stay with the inlaws.

Anyway, I still have to catch up with the strategy discussion/strategy development. Now, strategy may be a frequently used term in these forums, but I am always struggling to develop it. I may be wrong and I am definitely not in a position to lecture about a subject like this, but according to my personal understanding a statement like "my strategy is to build up the Aleuteans and strike at the Kuriles" is not relating to strategy but rather on an operational level. For me, this follows from the very definition of "strategy", see e.g. Merriam Webster's excellent online dictionary:

"The science and art of employing the political, economic, psychological and military forces of a nation or a group of nations to afford maximum support to adopted policies in peace or war".

Feel free to comment on this view. I like to learn...

So the relevant question is: How do I best employ my assets to ensure that Japan will no longer remain a menace to world peace etc pp. ?

To be continued

Thanks for your interest

Hartwig



(in reply to hartwig.modrow)
Post #: 8
RE: Strategic musings continued - 8/6/2011 7:27:41 AM   
hartwig.modrow

 

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Gentlemen,

the first continuation of the previous post.

As I had pointed out in post No.3, there was one aspect that had raised my curiosity: How does the modified starting situation affect Japan economically ?

Well, thanks to the creators of the most excellent WitP tracker , we have a way to satisfy our curiosity in this respecect:

This is the standard starting situation in a scenario 1 GC game:




Sorry about the cut edges, looks like I do not have cutting edge picture editing qualities - od do I ?

to be continued

Hartwig

Attachment (1)

< Message edited by hartwig.modrow -- 8/6/2011 7:30:00 AM >

(in reply to hartwig.modrow)
Post #: 9
RE: Strategic musings continued - 8/6/2011 7:32:55 AM   
hartwig.modrow

 

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Gentlemen,

in this immediate continuation of the previous post, I share the same information as above for the May 1942 campaign game:




Ok, that's it for now - I'll be back later with comments and conclusions on/from those data.

Thanks for your interest

Hartwig

Attachment (1)

< Message edited by hartwig.modrow -- 8/6/2011 7:34:30 AM >

(in reply to hartwig.modrow)
Post #: 10
Turn received - 8/6/2011 1:08:35 PM   
hartwig.modrow

 

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Gentlemen,

Allied Headquarters announce...

that May 3rd and May 4th have been quite eventless throughout the pacific.

Once again, the only action that took place was happening in China: Some bombing runs and another Chinese unit was beaten up in the clear by the Japanese.

The reason is most likely that we both need to get assets into place before the real action can start. However, preparations are running, and thus I'll provide you with an extract from the operations report, showing reconing activities of the enemy:

----------------SNIP-------------------
Japanese Aircraft sighted over Port Moresby
Japanese Aircraft sighted over Sidate
Japanese Aircraft sighted over Chittagong
Japanese Fighter Bomber sighted over Ledo
Japanese Aircraft sighted over Changsha
Japanese Fighter Bomber sighted over Kohima
Japanese Torpedo Bomber sighted over Bathurst Island
Japanese Aircraft sighted over Imphal
Japanese Aircraft sighted over Cox's Bazar
Ki-15-II Babs sighted over Dacca
Japanese Fighter sighted over 74th Chinese Corps
Japanese Fighter sighted over Siangtan
C5M2 Babs sighted over Port Moresby
Japanese Aircraft sighted over Sidate
Japanese Aircraft sighted over Chittagong
Japanese Fighter sighted over Ledo
Ki-15-II Babs sighted over Changsha
Ki-15-II Babs sighted over Kohima
Japanese Torpedo Bomber sighted over Imphal
Japanese Recon sighted over Cox's Bazar
Ki-15-II Babs sighted over Dacca
Japanese Aircraft sighted over 74th Chinese Corps
Japanese Aircraft sighted over Siangtan
Japanese Aircraft sighted over Port Moresby
Ki-15-II Babs sighted over Chittagong
Japanese Aircraft sighted over Ledo
Japanese Fighter Bomber sighted over Wuchow
Japanese Aircraft sighted over Changsha
Japanese Fighter sighted over Kweilin
Japanese Recon sighted over Kohima
Japanese Recon sighted over Sparrow Battalion
Japanese Fighter Bomber sighted over Imphal
Japanese Fighter Bomber sighted over Cox's Bazar
Japanese Fighter sighted over Dacca
Japanese Aircraft sighted over 25th Chinese Corps
Japanese Aircraft sighted over Siangtan
Japanese Fighter Bomber sighted over Yenan
Japanese Aircraft sighted over Port Moresby
Ki-15-II Babs sighted over Chittagong
Japanese Recon sighted over Ledo
Japanese Fighter sighted over Wuchow
Japanese Recon sighted over Changsha
Japanese Torpedo Bomber sighted over Kweilin
Japanese Aircraft sighted over Kohima
Japanese Aircraft sighted over Imphal
Ki-46-II Dinah sighted over Cox's Bazar
Japanese Aircraft sighted over Dacca
Japanese Aircraft sighted over 25th Chinese Corps
Japanese Aircraft sighted over Siangtan
Japanese Aircraft sighted over Yenan
---------------------------SNAP--------------------------

I always like to look at things like that, even though right now nothing really surprising appears in that list. South East of India, Northeast of Oz / PM, Australia, China are the regions where action should be expected in this scenario, I guess.

That's all for now. Thank you for your interest

Hartwig

(in reply to hartwig.modrow)
Post #: 11
RE: Strategic musings continued - 8/6/2011 4:35:58 PM   
Alfred

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: hartwig.modrow

... Anyway, I still have to catch up with the strategy discussion/strategy development. Now, strategy may be a frequently used term in these forums, but I am always struggling to develop it. I may be wrong and I am definitely not in a position to lecture about a subject like this, but according to my personal understanding a statement like "my strategy is to build up the Aleuteans and strike at the Kuriles" is not relating to strategy but rather on an operational level. For me, this follows from the very definition of "strategy", see e.g. Merriam Webster's excellent online dictionary:

"The science and art of employing the political, economic, psychological and military forces of a nation or a group of nations to afford maximum support to adopted policies in peace or war".

Feel free to comment on this view. I like to learn...

Hartwig



Hartwig,

I have always adopted a much simpler definition.

Strategy is the plan to bring victory. Tactics is the means adopted to implement the adopted strategy.

In military matters one often hears the following concepts used.


  • grand strategy
  • operational planning
  • doctrine


These concepts sometimes appear under slightly different names. There is also a degree of overlap between them. Broken down to first principles however these terms are really just strategy and tactics under a different name. Hence grand strategy is strategy whilst the other two terms are really tactics, the difference between the two is the scale of tactical implementation.

To provide context, from a military perspective grand strategy can be viewed as falling in the Webster definition. In an AE context it covers such issues as those I raised in Q-Ball's AAR v Canoerebel.

1. Do you intend to indirectly defeat the Japanese military by starving her industrial capacity to maintain her military so that the military collapses from within, or do you intend to directly defeat its military by destroying in combat its assets so that the military collapses from the external blows delivered?

Different tactical approaches (in AE context = operational planning) to implement the indirect strategy would for example be (a) to sink the Japanese tanker fleet to prevent oil reaching Japan thus blocking inputs for industry, or (b) destroy industry so it is outputs which are impacted.

Tactics to support the direct strategy would include (a) maneouvring to isolate parts of the enemy military to defeat it in detail, (b) using maskirovka to misdirect the enemy into sending its reserves away from the decisive contact point.

2. Again within an AE context the grand strategy could be to forget about the Japanese military and to seek victory by engaging in an economic race to build infrastructure, the objective being to accumulate at a faster rate more VPs than the enemy.

Tactical approaches here would be to (a) maximise the building of rear area ports and airfields, (b) interdict the enemy's LOCs so that its bases lack supply and therefore do not receive the VPs from the built up base facilities.

I have mentioned above only a few grand strategy options and a couple of suitable tactical approaches for each strategy. There are many more tactics for these mentioned strategies.

Alfred

(in reply to hartwig.modrow)
Post #: 12
RE: Strategic musings continued - 8/6/2011 5:25:13 PM   
hartwig.modrow

 

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Alfred,

as usual, interesting, excellent, precise and helpful comments.

I will, however, at this point of time comment only quite briefly, although not in the briefest possible way. In fact, the strategy I would like to implement is very close to one of those you mention, so that the shortest response would be to name what I am going to do.

However, I would like to walk through my selection process (which is why I posted the economy data above) in a few processes, hoping for advice or pointers to flawed analysis how to do it better next time.

What I want to say now relates to two things I appreciate in the definition from Merriam Webster:

a) it stresses the multi-dimensional nature that strategy can have in this game. Doubtless, a seasoned strategist will bear it in mind automatically (le.g., your economic race option shows that you do). For me, it is helpful to be reminded of it explicitly.

b) it stresses the subordination to the national goal. I believe that it is unlikely that your strategy suggestion 2) would eliminate Japan as a threat to world peace, nor would it be likely to turn it into a peaceful nation. Consequently, this is not an option (I do not play for points, and aztez also stated he is not interested in acquiring auto-victory conditions).

I will try to manage to return to this post once I have told more about the strategic approach I plan to follow and/or add further comments at suitable points of the presentation of my strategic musings.

Thanks again for posting.

Hartwig

(in reply to Alfred)
Post #: 13
RE: Strategic musings continued - 8/7/2011 4:33:34 AM   
Alfred

 

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Hartwig,

As we seem to be the only two sitting by the log fire, sipping our cognacs, whilst discussing the concept of strategy, I think it is safe to continue. Of course, if we were leaning over the dinner table, moving the salt and pepper shakers to illustrate our discussion points, we would be discussing tactics not strategy.

You were quite correct to say in post #8 that on the AE forums, much which passes for discussion as strategy is really at best only tactcs only some of it being truly operational planning in nature. Eventually Nemo will discover this AAR and probably comment as strategic matters greatly interest him. If you ran an AE poll, I have no doubt that he would be voted overwhelmingly as the best AE game strategist. That would be a result I would not quibble with except for one point, albeit in my view very critical. Most of Nemo's writings deal with and his great game results demonstrate, his superior operational planning rather than strategic insights. As I said in post #12 operational planning is really tactics. It is however useful to assess his operational plans against others to ascertain why his level of success is not generally replicated by others.

Nemo's operational pre-planning is meticulous, but then so is other players' operational planning. It is very much mated to logistical considerations, an area which very few other players match to the same degree. His operational planning focusses on optimal objectives which are pursued ruthlessly. Too many other players direct their operational planning towards sub-optimal objectives and are diffident in their execution. Above all else, what distinguishes Nemo's operational planning and play from the maority of AE players is that it is always truly subordinated to and consistent with his grand strategy. At this point i would remind you again of what i said in post #12.

Strategy is the plan to bring victory. Tactics is the means adopted to implement the adopted strategy.


Nemo may very well dispute my assessment but I believe that he would agree that compared to the real world, the freedom to formulate and pursue various grand strategy options in AE is limited. At it's centre, the game is much more about operational planning. To me, his games have limited variation in strategy (a function of the game's limits) but considerable variety in operational play. His operational play is so closely tied to his grand strategy, that it is easy for others to mistake one for the other. To give just a single example of this, I draw your attention to my comment in his AAR v 1EyedJack that essentially his entire Pacific operation was a trap.

Now to come back to your observation made in post #8 that the generic comment made by some that they intend to build up the Aleutians with a view of striking the Kuriles. You are correct, that is not strategy, at best it is operational (aka tactical) play. Most would dispute what I have just said, so I need to justify my statement.

OK, let's take at face value that building Aleutians, striking Kuriles is strategy. Once accomplished, then what? Now that the so called strategy has been accomplished the player should be able to simply derive the benefit of his strategy by merely engaging in a sitzkrieg. I don't see any victory resulting and therefore the definition of what is strategy is not met. The Kuriles, like any piece of real estate, does not in itself have any value. The value of the real estate derives from how it is used to bring about victory. So how would the Kuriles be used. They could be used as sub bases to interdict the enemy's SLOCs. That could be furthering an overall strategy of interdicting industry inputs (mentioned in an earlier post) but if Japan's merchant fleet has already been sunk or no raw material production nearby remains available to Japan, the value of the Kuriles drops dramatically. Alternatively the Kuriles might be viewed as providing airfields close to the Home Islands, enabling destruction of Japanese industry. But if they have been captured on the 30th October, or the airfields are yet to be built, or the Allied player simply lacks the air units/airframes, or the Allied SLOCs cannot be maintained, all being factors which will prevent prosecution of an effective Allied bombing campaign, then the Allied player is no closer to victory than before.

I could go on but I think enough has been provided for further thought. Now if you would be so kind as to pass over the bottle of cognac...

Alfred

(in reply to hartwig.modrow)
Post #: 14
A temptation - 8/7/2011 8:09:02 AM   
hartwig.modrow

 

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Alfred,

wow, your post #14 is truly a post worthy of the title of this AAR. It tempts me to settle right now in a comfortable chair at the log fire and get into a pleasant discussion. If I may, I would replace that Brandy with a bottle of Caol Ila, but otherwise the scenario you describe is perfect.

Unfortunately, however, this won't be possible for me before I settle into my comfortable chair tonight. I will reply then in more detail, but felt I should post a short reaction immediately.

Hartwig

(in reply to Alfred)
Post #: 15
Turn 3 received and returned - 8/8/2011 8:16:16 PM   
hartwig.modrow

 

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Gentlemen,

when I returned yesterday evening it turned out that rather than getting a chance to sit down in a comfortable chair at the log fire and continue a pleasant discussion I found out that aztez had already sent the turn back, thus I had to give some orders first and actually sent the turn back first thing this morning. Now, before I return either to strategic musings or tempting discussions, I would like to keep you informed on the progress of the war.

Slowly, we are seeing more action. The first Japanese sub attacks occurred around Colombo and Pearl (not surprisingly), but were not successful. I 20 got reportedly hit several times by a British ASW group on patrol near Colombo after it chose to attack one of said ships, reportedly it was sunk, but reemerged from Davy Jones’s locker later to attack an AKL on the surface– also without success.

In China, apart from the usual bomb runs on hapless Chinese LCUs, the glorious Chinese army liberated Ichang – at least for the time being. I guess the Japanese will be back in force later.

Also, I decided to start a little air war in Burma and ordered daylight city bombing of Magwe refineries and a ground attack on troops that recon showed leaving Akyab. The first worked for those bombers that stayed with their escorts, as there was only some CAP leaking from Mandaly, unfortunately though some of the Blenheims arrived later on day two and five were shot down when they met more zeros than the escorted raid had. Still, the strategic bombing screen shows eleven refinery hits at Magwe.

As these strikes are most likely meaningless in the big picture and in a way belong to a class of operations that should not be executed, I think aztez should mainly ignore them. I ordered some more meaningless acts of aggression for the next turns; air strikes at Mytkina and two naval bombardment runs in the pacific. It will be interesting to see whether he reacts by deluting his important efforts and devotes assets to defend against these pinprick attacks or not.

Thank you for your interest

Hartwig



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Post #: 16
RE: Turn 3 received and returned - 8/8/2011 8:46:39 PM   
Alfred

 

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Don't worry about the delay in sitting down in the comfy chair. Us bona fide armchair strategists, which I am most definitely one, as FatR recently so kindly pointed out and confirmed the pejorative connotations, are quite used to going to our gentleman club, sitting down in one of the comfy red leather chairs and having our "scintilating" conversation ignored by the other armchair strategists who are either slumped over their copy of the London Times newspaper snoring, or have their hearing aids turned off to save on battery use. Just as long as the staff continue to bring us our cognacs or scotch and address us as "milord", the real world will do quite fine without us.

Alfred

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Post #: 17
RE: Turn 3 received and returned - 8/8/2011 8:56:14 PM   
Nemo121


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Another nice way of thinking of strategy is as follows:

1. National Policy Objectives - set by political leaders.

2. Strategy seeks to achieve national policy objectives through the mobilisation of all aspects of the nation ( political, economic, psychological, military and religious/propaganda ).

3. Operations are the means by which we seek to achieve strategic objectives at that level above the tactical.

4. Tactics - What one does when within range of enemy direct fire weapons - or preparing for same.

The above isn't perfect but it does serve as a very simple means of getting your head around the issue IMO.


Alfred's definition misses out the operational IMO - which is crucial in a game like AE where grand strategy is relatively constrained and much of the actual manoeuvring etc has to be done at what we may refer to as the minor strategic/grand operational interface ( a rather grey, amorphous area ).

I suppose the way I'd view it is that I conduct operations to further strategic goals. I would argue that a series of operations separated by thousands of virtual miles but related temporally and physically and joined together in such a manner as to dislocate the enemy, draw in their reserves and leave the way open for a final operation to have grand strategic results is a good example of a strategic masterplan.

I've always rather liked Bagration and would argue that in my game vs 1EyedJacks I rather copied the ethos behind Bagration insofar as the grand strategic plan utilised multiple phased operations to dislocate the Germans, draw in their reserves and leave the way open for massive strategically relevant advances.

I wouldn't agree that operational planning is really tactics. I think that, as the Soviets would argue, operational planning is a third level which interfaces between tactics and strategy. Some other schools of thought don't really agree with that view but I always found it most persuasive.


Lastly though I'd say this: Alfred is right. Much of what is labelled strategic discussion is only tactical discussion. SOME of it rises to discuss operational art and very rarely do you see any sort of cohesive plan in which operations are fitted into a strategic over-arching plan in order to drive the gaining of that side's national policy objectives. Even more to the point when you do see discussion you get a bevy of poltroons wading in to create havoc and witless bystanders tarring all with the same brush. I hope that you are willing and able to enforce some measure of buffoon control on posters here in your AAR.


As re: your national policy objective. It seems a bit wishy-washy to me. Very PC etc. Is your goal to destroy their economy or military or both? Is your goal to create a client state, an occupied one or just a humbled but independent one at war's end? I think the answers to those two questions would better guide your strategy.

Based on the national policy objectives you list I really wouldn't be able to derive any menaingful guidance re: what strategies would NOT be suitable for achieving that end point. Essentially any winning strategy would achieve those goals and I'm not sure that that national policy objective thus really aids planning.


As to the lying, cheating boogeyman. Why even mention him? It'll only give him an excuse to invade this and turn it into yet another place unsafe for thought, integrity and interesting discussion. He shouldn't IMO, be mentioned and neither should his ilk be mentioned, invited or, if they show up, accepted as contributing meaningfully. I am sick of the whole polite conceit that those who post seeking to bait others and generally act snidely have as much to contribute as anyone else.

< Message edited by Nemo121 -- 8/8/2011 9:01:27 PM >


_____________________________

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Well, that's that settled then.

(in reply to hartwig.modrow)
Post #: 18
A brief visit at the Gentlemen's club... - 8/9/2011 12:13:42 AM   
hartwig.modrow

 

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Nemo,

thanks for chiming in.

It's getting late, but I would just sit down half a minute für a quick Scotch on my way home in our lovely little club. The point I mainly want to pick up is your comment re. national policy aim. I really had problems defining one in the AE framework, thus I thought I would just borrow from reality and used the one of the BASIC DIRECTIVE FOR POST-SURRENDER MILITARY GOVERNMENT IN JAPAN PROPER. And yes, it is very PC - thus my tons of votes comment .

Perhaps I should have searched for the Soviet plans for occupied Japan to find a less PC goal.

That much for today.

Hartwig

(in reply to Nemo121)
Post #: 19
RE: Turn 3 received and returned - 8/10/2011 7:08:50 AM   
hartwig.modrow

 

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Alfred,

quote:

ORIGINAL: Alfred

Don't worry about the delay in sitting down in the comfy chair. Us bona fide armchair strategists, which I am most definitely one, as FatR recently so kindly pointed out and confirmed the pejorative connotations, are quite used to going to our gentleman club, sitting down in one of the comfy red leather chairs and having our "scintilating" conversation ignored by the other armchair strategists who are either slumped over their copy of the London Times newspaper snoring, or have their hearing aids turned off to save on battery use. Just as long as the staff continue to bring us our cognacs or scotch and address us as "milord", the real world will do quite fine without us.

Alfred


well, then this AAR definitely is a place to stay for you. Note the change of title I performed inspired by the image you describe .

Hartwig

(in reply to Alfred)
Post #: 20
RE: The armchair strategists club (formerly Temptations... - 8/10/2011 7:20:03 AM   
Cap Mandrake

 

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quote:

To ensure that Japan will not remain a menace to world peace and to turn Japan into a peaceful nation beneficial to our policy according to the principles of the UN charter.


H.M;

Not to be a pedant, but is there even a UN Charter yet?

How about, "Breaking institutional and colonial barriers every day to to enhance the contentment of all peoples living within the Co-prosperity sphere"?

As for the grass..just spray the crap out of it with Roundup and then cover it all with lava rocks.

(in reply to hartwig.modrow)
Post #: 21
RE: Turn 3 received and returned - 8/10/2011 7:30:09 AM   
hartwig.modrow

 

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Nemo,

quote:

ORIGINAL: Nemo121

Another nice way of thinking of strategy is as follows:

1. National Policy Objectives - set by political leaders.

2. Strategy seeks to achieve national policy objectives through the mobilisation of all aspects of the nation ( political, economic, psychological, military and religious/propaganda ).

3. Operations are the means by which we seek to achieve strategic objectives at that level above the tactical.

4. Tactics - What one does when within range of enemy direct fire weapons - or preparing for same.


this is quite close to what I am trying to use as orientation (which is not too surprising, because the scions of my recent strategic thinking trace back to literature seeds you planted). In a way including Bagration (I have the Belorussia 1944 book by Glantz in the "buy later" section of my Amazon cart, but shied away from buying it so far because I have the feeling I still don't fully understand his book relating to Kursk). As a side note, I think that yor profound understanding of the multi-dimensional aspects of strategy may be as important for your success in PBEM games as the strong operational planning stressed by Alfred. But that's just my view, based on very little statistics - so it may be completely wrong.

However, frankly I am confused about your assignment of destruction of economy or military to the field of national goal. I would have assigned these usually to the strategy to bring about the national goal. Destruction another state's military or industry per se does not change my nation's situation per se, the consequences achieved by said destruction may, so the destruction must serve a purpose.

Ok, this is the strategy discussion fragment of the day. More news on turn events in the next post.

Thanks for your interest

Hartwig

< Message edited by hartwig.modrow -- 8/10/2011 7:33:10 AM >

(in reply to Nemo121)
Post #: 22
RE: Turn 3 received and returned - 8/10/2011 9:07:35 AM   
Commander Cody


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Hartwig--Good to see an AAR based on the May '42 scenario. I'm not going to wade into this strategy discussion between the grandmasters. However, could you give us some idea of your starting dispositions? I'm specifically curious about SoPac and Burma.

Thanks,
CC

_____________________________

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(in reply to hartwig.modrow)
Post #: 23
RE: Turn 3 received and returned - 8/10/2011 10:25:07 AM   
Nemo121


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Only time for he quickest of replies.

What would you say the National Policybobjective underpinning the Allied position at the treaty of Versailles vs Germany was?

1. Economy - By burdening the economy with such huge reparations they hoped to limit German economic growth and surpluses such that they would outstrip it economically and be able to afford a better/larger army for the same GDP allocation. If Germany located more GDP then they'd enter the Reaganite Soviet spiral of ever-increasing %s of GDP being allocated and, eventually, further stifling economic growth leading to economic collapse and the inability to sustain the requisite military might. At Versailles they just asked for too much and pushed Germany too far into the doldrums, leading to unrest and Naziism.

2. The Versailles treaty certainly sought to destroy Germany's ability to maintain a functional military capable of the sorts of battles being doubt in 1918. Their miscalculation was that they didn't realise just how effectively Germany would use it's 100,000 to effectively preserve extremely high quality NCOs and NCO candidates, officers and potential mustangs, staff training and expertise and theoretical development - as well as tactical/technical development under dual-use maskirovka.

The Versaills Treaty wasn't strategy, it was the fulfilment of national policy objectives which basically boiled down to "never again" but pretty much created "inevitably next generTion" by mistake.

_____________________________

John Dillworth: "I had GreyJoy check my spelling and he said it was fine."
Well, that's that settled then.

(in reply to Commander Cody)
Post #: 24
RE: Turn 3 received and returned - 8/10/2011 11:02:15 PM   
hartwig.modrow

 

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Nemo,

quote:

ORIGINAL: Nemo121

Only time for he quickest of replies.

What would you say the National Policybobjective underpinning the Allied position at the treaty of Versailles vs Germany was?


Here lack of time too, only briefly.

The objective was to prove that fourteen equals zero.

What do I want to say with that remark (actually, I think it's a quote, but I cannot come up with the real source) ?

Read Wilson's 14 point plan and then compare to the actual events between, say, 1919 and 1921. Read Lloyd George's memorandum of March 1919 (which actually sort of predicts what happened) or consider John Maynard Keynes' actions when the negotiations were still on. You will recognize that the Allied did not have a national policy objective, but a set of competing objectives. In the end, the French strive to become the dominant power on the continent made the day - and the US did not sign the treaty.

The way to ensure dominace was twofold: a) try to cripple economic power + b) try to cripple military power of the direct rival Germany. The Versailles treaty was part of an implementation of that strategic approach, so maybe it could even be an action on an operational level in the inter-allied diplomacy theatre ?

As always, just my 2cts.

Hartwig

(in reply to Nemo121)
Post #: 25
RE: Turn 3 received and returned - 8/10/2011 11:27:25 PM   
hartwig.modrow

 

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Commander Cody,

quote:

ORIGINAL: Commander Cody

Hartwig--Good to see an AAR based on the May '42 scenario. I'm not going to wade into this strategy discussion between the grandmasters. However, could you give us some idea of your starting dispositions? I'm specifically curious about SoPac and Burma.

Thanks,
CC


thanks for your question. Do feel free to wade into the discussion - I think the discussing grandmasters have a soft spot for people who really to improve their grasp on these questions.

When you talk about starting dispositions, I assume you relate to my first actions in the respective theatres. (I still plan to go down the ladder from national goals to operational and maybe tactical level and would like to discuss operational plans in the strategic framework)

I assume you are familiar with the May '42 scenario. Burma in the strict sense is already occupied at that point of time, so I guess you aim at the situation at the Burmese-Indian border. Key priority is a) swapping the actual garrisons (depleted units assigned to Burma command) against fresh troops and get them into a supply- and base-rich environment to bring them back to strength ASAP.

Re. SOPAC: distribution of Supplies and Fuel and improving the supporting base network. It does not make sense to maintain garrisons that will starve quickly, and the bases that start with some LCUs are too strongly separated for my taste.

In general, India and Australia have started the process of upgrading units to india 42 squads and CMF Inf squads. With careful planning, their LCU firepower can most likely be increased relatively quickly.

Last not least, working towards a reasonable distribution of shipping is important as well.

I hope this answers your question; if not feel free to ask for additional information.

Hartwig

(in reply to Commander Cody)
Post #: 26
RE: Turn 3 received and returned - 8/10/2011 11:30:40 PM   
hartwig.modrow

 

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I intended to log in to report about turn 4, which I have received but not yet processed. Well, looks like I drifted away in the previous posts, so you'll have to hold your breath a bit longer. Actually much longer, because I will probably be forced to fall back on my mobile internet access till Monday or so.

I apologize for the delay.

Hartwig


(in reply to hartwig.modrow)
Post #: 27
RE: The armchair strategists club (formerly Temptations... - 8/10/2011 11:40:08 PM   
hartwig.modrow

 

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Cap'n,

quote:

ORIGINAL: Cap Mandrake

H.M;

Not to be a pedant, but is there even a UN Charter yet?


To be or not to be, that is the question. But yup, you identified my back door to create a bit of flexibility just in case so I can claim I achieved the óbjectives even if things don't go well.

quote:


How about, "Breaking institutional and colonial barriers every day to to enhance the contentment of all peoples living within the Co-prosperity sphere"?


I like it, but don't you think that would be useful only if those people may vote for me afterwards? I mean, improving something for someone is nice, but improving something for my voters is much better.

quote:


As for the grass..just spray the crap out of it with Roundup and then cover it all with lava rocks.


I had a similar proposal, but it got vetoed by my wife.

Hartwig

< Message edited by hartwig.modrow -- 8/10/2011 11:41:31 PM >

(in reply to Cap Mandrake)
Post #: 28
RE: The armchair strategists club (formerly Temptations... - 8/11/2011 1:39:48 AM   
Nemo121


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Re: Versailles as an Operation... No, not according to any definition of Operational Art I've ever read.

The Soviets - who really first described Operational Art in the modern sense - talked about Operations linking Tactics to Strategy. I think you are getting mixed up by mislabelling the higher levels. If in doubt I find the best way to approach clarifying what level a thing is to be starting at either extreme and working your way down or up.


So, if we assume the initial hypothesis that preventing another World War by so militarily and economically crippling Germany was the national policy objective of France/UK ( not necessarily of the USA ) we can test it by asking the question of whether or not there was a higher level goal than that. If there was then perhaps THAT other goal is the national policy objective and the military and economic crippling was strategy. I find it difficult, though, to find a higher level goal than the utter generational crippling of a potential opponent militarily and economically.

_____________________________

John Dillworth: "I had GreyJoy check my spelling and he said it was fine."
Well, that's that settled then.

(in reply to hartwig.modrow)
Post #: 29
RE: The armchair strategists club (formerly Temptations... - 8/11/2011 2:16:49 AM   
Cap Mandrake

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: hartwig.modrow
I had a similar proposal, but it got vetoed by my wife.

Hartwig


Get rid of the civilian voice on the council of war. They always seem to lack fortitude. Next thing you know you will be having deep breathing exercises and spiritual readings before invasion planning meetings.

(in reply to hartwig.modrow)
Post #: 30
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