From: Denver Colorado
ORIGINAL: el hefe
First of all, before I go into the specifics, I am not going to get dragged down into a mud slinging heated debate over this. I am simply presenting the facts of this contested issue and the factors behind it.
1. Why is the German player punished by having the entire 6th Army withdraw when it was destroyed around the end of January 1943?
A. The German player is not being punished for the 6th Army being destroyed. The German player has to deal with the siphoning off of combat resources to the Western and Italian Fronts. It just happens that these resources belonged to units that were rebuilding from the shattered 6th Army and sent to Italy in the summer of 1943. There are numerous other examples of units destroyed in pockets that are not withdrawn. The forces destroyed in Bagration and The Rumanian Iasi-Khisinev operation are also not withdrawn from the game because they were destroyed. The ONLY reason for a unit being withdrawn from the game is if that unit got re-deployed to another theater. If there is a unit in the game that gets withdrawn and it should not be, by all means let me know. I think it is a reasonable design decision that the OKH player have resources withdrawn as part of a multi-front conflict. Now the method in which this has been implemented is debatable. I personally prefer the holding box method which is being implemented in WitW.
B. Not all of the 6th Army units destroyed are withdrawn in the game. Here is a list which shows seven of the twenty divisions get withdrawn to other theaters. Notice that the 6th Army does not go *Poof* on 31 January 1943.
44th Infantry Division - no withdrawal
71st Infantry Division - withdraws 12 August 1943 to Italy
76th Infantry Division - no withdrawal
79th Infantry Division - no withdrawal
94th Infantry Division - withdraws 15 April 1943 to Italy
100th Jager Division - no withdrawal
113th Infantry Division - no withdrawal
295th Infantry Division - withdraws 22 July 1943 to Norway
297th Infantry Division - withdraws 17 June 1943 to Serbia
305th Infantry Division - withdraws 11 March 1943 to Italy
371st Infantry Division - no withdrawal
376th Infantry Division - no withdrawal
384th Infantry Division - no withdrawal
389th Infantry Division - no withdrawal
3rd Motorized Division - withdraws 27 May 1943 to Italy
29th Motorized Division - withdraws 20 May 1943 to Italy
60th Motorized Division - withdraws 27 May 1943 but rebuild as the FHH PzG Division so really not a withdrawal
14th Panzer Division - no withdrawal
16th Panzer Division - no withdrawal
24th Panzer Division - no withdrawal
C. The "Replacement Army Assumption". There is a circulated belief that if these units were not destroyed at Stalingrad, then the replacement army would have shipped other formations to the West and Italy with manpower that was not used to rebuild the shattered 6th Army. This is an assumption at best and one that is clearly an unknown. Germany was loathe to make any manpower adjustment unless a crisis forced the administration to make changes. You can look at the Barbarossa Plan - 250k replacements planned for the operation with over a million sustained losses through January 1942. It wasn't until December-January 1942 that Hitler agreed to move a portion workers from the factories and into combat units. Losses dictated that homeland defense flak units were manned by teenagers. It took the diasters of Bagration, Iasi, and Normandy in the Summer of 1944 for the Germans to finally ruthlessly comb through their bloated Armed Forces manpower to get the needed manpower to the combat units. This is obviously a highly debatable topic with merits on both sides of the argument. The fact is that it is unknown what would have happened if the Stalingrad diaster did not occur. Would Germany have sent other units? Don't know. Would Germany have sent even more units in an attempt to utterly crush the landings since it had the extra assets available? Again, dunno. In the end, the developers choose the rout in which the German player would have to feel the strain of commitments to other fronts and I don't feel that is unreasonable.
Any single decision removed from the full scope of gameplay becomes an exercise in biased historic discussion.
When you ask a-historical questions, you get conjecture. We can never know what Germany would have done in 1943 regarding creating units without the surrender at Stalingrad. War in the East is forcing Germany to do the exact thing it did historically. The Soviet side, by contrast, is never forced to keep its Corps HQs, it's not forced to a set number of cavalry corps (and these have a dramatic impact on the game in 1942 onward). But Germany is FORCED to remove specific units at specific times that match a history that varies as soon as one starts a game.
It's not the major point of this issue that Germany withdrew stuff from the Eastern Front. It's the major point of how those withdrawals are designed.
The point is that specific units must leave the game on a set schedule, and the loss of specific units can have a much more dramatic effect on the German player than people are discussing. I pick the Stalingrad divisions as a point of discussion because it becomes easy to see the handicap you're forcing on Germany. Well, it should be, but for many, it does not.
The point of debate in gameplay is this:
Germany can be forced to remove its best morale units, forever changing the nature of its fighting ability.
The superior design decision is to allow Germany to remove units of his choosing. Another superior design is simply to affect the reinforcement levels available to the eastern front, which more accurately represents the abstract western front stuff that is to be represented by withdrawals.
This game forces Germany on to rails that ensure its Army's degradation can be predicted irrespective of in game performance. The German player is not in control of his army's capabilities to the same degree that the Soviet is. The Soviet side can optimize his army at every step of the way. Meanwhile, if the German player is out-performing his historical predecessor, he is forced into things that make sure his superior performance is blunted.
Whether it is the withdrawals of units that surrendered at Stalingrad, which is an easy point around which to crucify the unequal treatment of the two sides' gameplay, or whether it's the January 194x drops in National Morale, or whether it's the TOEs that change at arbitrary points, removing hundreds of armored vehicles and/or artillery pieces from the map and putting them into pools, Germany is hand-cuffed. Germany fights with handcuffs. The Soviet fights with NATO levels of organization and command.
I'm sorry you don't understand my point. I feel it's very simple to understand.
War in the East forces the German player to fight with historical handicaps while it frees the Soviet from terrible inefficiencies as soon as the game starts. The Soviet can improve his force dramatically over his predecessor. Germany will have a superior force (over history) slapped down arbitrarily.
It's that simple.
There are other ways to handle it. Rather, there were if Matrix were interested in supporting War in the East, but it's made its money from the product, and it's moving on.
If you feel German gameplay is 'fair' then by all means, ignore my points of debate. But if you feel German gameplay is fair compared to the Soviet, then I conclude your biases impugn your ability to debate.
You want to talk about history.
I want to talk about gameplay consequences.
The problem with trying to found any of YOUR points on history is that the a-historical stuff in War in the East is easy to highlight (cough: Soviet airfield bombing capabilities), and any discussion founded on history can be undermined by the unequal treatment of other historical points. You can never win an argument of this type. I can match any point of history by two points of abandonment of history.
Summer 2017-Playing: D-Day at Omaha Beach, Advanced Squad Leader,
Reading: Kampfgruppe Walther & Panzerbrigade 107 (Magnificent). Lots of Osprey stuff.
Rulebooks: ASL (always ASL)