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Amphibious Operations

 
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Amphibious Operations - 9/4/2012 11:05:53 AM   
Rasputitsa


Posts: 1679
Joined: 6/30/2001
From: Bedfordshire UK
Status: online
Operation Torch 1942.
Initial Planning commenced 8th Jul. 1942.
Directive issued after meeting of Churchill and Roosevelt (player decision level ?), 14th Aug. 1942, 12 game turns ahead
Plans finalised and landing date confirmed 20th Sept. 1942, 8 game turns ahead
Landing took place 8th Nov. 1942.

Western Task Force, Objective Casablanca - 2 Landing beaches (game has only one beach in zone), Forces - 5 Regimental Combat Teams, 1 Armoured Command, 1 Armoured Combat Team, total 35,000 troops, estimated 2 Divs equivalent

Center Task force, Objective Oran, 3 Regimental Combat Teams, 1 Armoured Command, 1 Ranger Battalion, 18,500 troops, estimated 1 Div equivalent.
Added later 1 Para Regiment, (note - departed UK overflew Spain operational distance 60/70 hexes)

Eastern Task Force, Objective Algiers, 2 Regimental Combat Teams, 2 Brigade Groups, 2 Commando units, 20,000 troops, estimated 1 Div equivalent.

Fleets departing USA launched through 10 sea zones, from UK through 6-9 sea zones, Gibraltar through 1-2 sea zones, Malta through 2 sea zones.

This is not intended to be a detailed description of a large operation, but to see how it works in game terms, to introduce more reality into amphibious operations. This can be done as house rules, self imposed in solo play, or by agreement in PBEM.

The decision to make this landing in NA was finalised 12 game turns ahead of the event, the operational plans (choice of forces, beaches, etc.) were finalised 8 game turns ahead of the landing. This represents a major landing, not just a Dieppe type raid, Torch had no mulberry harbours, but a more simplified, just land and capture a port. A D-Day type operation would have even more preparation time and resources required.

Put simply, make a decision to prepare an amphibious assault 12 turns ahead, choose a sea zone, or zones, where the landings must take place, start paying a PP deduction each turn (through F12), 8 turns ahead choose the actual landing beaches (which you are committed to use) any change needs another 8 turn delay. Load amphibious fleets at is time, but hold them in port, this does not necessarily represent the troops actually on board, but the units will be unavailable while training and the ships are being assembled (If they are attacked, the ground units may be lost, (it happens - Exercise Tiger 1944)). Para drop needs a shorter delay, Market-Garden was planned very quickly 1-2 game turns (yes, I know it failed), but same process, choose the landing hex/hexes, but introduce a delay before launching the attack.

This will force the need to have air and naval superiority to prepare and launch a successful amphibious assault, or alternatively have the air superiority to repel one, otherwise it all happens too quickly for a credible defence.

Naval bombardment is probably needed, if you are going to clear landing beaches, but you cannot stand off-shore for weeks pounding away, there should be some restriction. Air attack can be more extensive, but you might want to introduce a need to deceive, by requiring bombing in other areas, every attack on the target sea zone coast must have another attack on a non-target sea zone coast hex. (I know the AI is too stupid to need deception, but it's part of the program). Not needed in PBEM, it's up to you whether you want to deceive.

This is not intended to be a complete plan, just the start of a discussion and to see if there is anything the devs can do. The proposed game time scales may seem short (keeping it simple), but historically a lot of planning and preparation went on before the high command (player level) was required to make a decision. Many plans were never used and a lot of work had been done on the successful ones, before final decisions were made.

The same exercise can be done for smaller landings, maybe reducing the penalties and delay, like Dieppe raid 6,000 men (single hex landings), or Anzio 69,000 men landed in the first week (1-2 hex landings), or larger operations like D-Day (multiple hex landings), based on Strength Points carried (Divs or Corps) and the presence of Armoured, or Mechanised Units, maybe extending the game turn time delay and increasing the PP deductions (either way, Mulberry harbours will greatly increase the cost and time delay to prepare large operations). I have chosen 'Torch' as middle ranking operation, as a starting point.

The decision to launch the Allied invasion of France was complicated by the changes of plan and the need to respond the the changing fortunes of the Eastern Front, through plans for Roundup, Bolero, Skyscraper, Cockade, Starkey, Harlequin and others, at one time Anvil was planned to take place at the same time, two operations together. However, after all the discussion and changes, the US 1st Army issued its plans as part of Overlord on 25th Feb 1944, the British 2nd Army on the 20th March 1944, for an invasion date of 1st June 1944. This came from the Combined Chiefs of Staff directive of 12th Feb. 1944 (17 weeks from 1st June 1944), that gives about 15 game turns ahead, as final confirmation of landing beaches and date when the plan becomes fixed. This is a huge simplification of all the planning activity that took place through 1942/43/44, but the additional delay was mainly political and inter service wrangling. Among other matters, Montgomery insisting on expandiing the operation on 3rd Jan 1944 and the connection of Overlord and Anvil being questioned by Churchill in early February 1944.

I can do all this for my own purposes, playing solo and adding to the realism of the game, but it would be interesting to know how much could be introduced into the game system. The AI will not necessarily have to do all this, as it needs as much help as it can get, but what mechanisms can we give the players.


< Message edited by Rasputitsa -- 9/6/2012 8:52:46 AM >


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RE: Amphibious Operations - 9/5/2012 7:02:13 PM   
Rasputitsa


Posts: 1679
Joined: 6/30/2001
From: Bedfordshire UK
Status: online
I've had a first try at the editor, not the easiest tool to use, but managed to edit the stock Gotterdamerung scenario. Corrected the Channel Islands still being British, removed the Anzio landing, increased fortification on the Dutch coast, to represent the difficulty of landing there (potential flooding is a major obstacle).

Set the date at January 1944, when the decisions were being made on Overlord, so that I can practice amphibious operations with some house rules. Reset the Soviets to very hard to slow them down till the time line catches up. Should be interesting.

_____________________________

"We have to go from where we are, not from where we would like to be" - me

(in reply to Rasputitsa)
Post #: 2
RE: Amphibious Operations - 9/6/2012 9:47:05 AM   
Rasputitsa


Posts: 1679
Joined: 6/30/2001
From: Bedfordshire UK
Status: online
quote:

ORIGINAL: Rasputitsa
I can do all this for my own purposes, playing solo and adding to the realism of the game, but it would be interesting to know how much could be introduced into the game system. The AI will not necessarily have to do all this, as it needs as much help as it can get, but what mechanisms can we give the players.


Any comment Doom, can the game system encompass any of this, (ability to indicate, on screen, future landing hexes, delay before chosen landings can be made, etc.) to bring some realism into amphibious operations, for the human players. I know the AI will be limited in what it can do, but when a landing is pending can it be encouraged to take up a more credible defensive stance. It knows how to defend (or recapture) railway and city hexes and if a sea zone has been designated up to 12 turns (or more) ahead as a prospective landing area, could the AI be put into a defence mode for that sea zone's beaches (treat them as rail hexes). It doesn't have to know the actual beaches, but prioritise on that sea zone and it's beaches and ports.

There is always the chance of a surprise landing such as Torch, which was launched many sea zones away, or a smaller Dieppe type raid launched over a much shorter time scale. However, everyone knew that Overlord was coming, but not exactly where and when.

Maybe landings launched from several sea zones away would have better odds of not being seen and therefore less reaction (Torch), but there would have to be cost advantages in launching from same sea zone (Overlord), but more visible, sea zones and ports, especially the larger the landing was going to be, otherwise people will try to launch D-Day from Iceland. The more amphibious fleets you load, the more chance they will be seen, unless total air superiority stops, or at least heavily restricts, enemy recce flights.

Players could designate sea zones for attack (at 12 turns to go), whilst not intending to attack, but they would have to pay PPs to do this and it would be like mounting a deception plan. Loading amphibious transports, 8 turns to go, makes a more credible threat, but there are more costs involved.

There could be another layer of strategy in this, to make the game more interesting and varied, for either Solo, or PBEM, but the how much can the AI contribute to this.

< Message edited by Rasputitsa -- 12/10/2012 11:30:24 AM >


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"We have to go from where we are, not from where we would like to be" - me

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