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Winterized Divisions

 
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Winterized Divisions - 3/11/2013 2:06:59 AM   
rmonical

 

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There has been a lot of discussion on the impact of the blizzard. Has the notion of giving the German the option to Winterize some divisions been discussed? I've seen it in two places: SPI WIE in which Germany can pay 10% of the army's production cost to eliminate the Soviet first winter effect. In a Europa series spinoff by James Burnett, he provides a winterized infantry division type which has enhanced capability in the Winter - especially the first Winter. The division costs 10% more than the standard infantry division.

The GG WiTE first winter effects are logistical in that regular supplies are not getting through and preparedness in which the combat units were not equipped for winter warfare (arguably another logistics consideration).

The Soviets have great flexibility with how they structure their force. The Germans have little. The Soviets are able to correct one of their their biggest 1941 errors: attack everywhere and do not retreat. The Germans are not able to correct their major error - failure to prepare for a long campaign.

The idea is this: for a supply and action point cost, the German can winterize a division making it immune to the blizzard special effects as is a mountain division. The division must be in Germany and the designation freezes the division for 16 turns - essentially taking it out of the summer campaign. There are fewer supplies and divisions available for the summer campaign but the winter battles might be a little more reasonable.

Absent some other fix for the blizzard, this might be a viable way forward.

One perfectly viable historical option is for Germany to take Smolensk, Kiev and Leningrad - establish a logistics infrastructure and do part 2 in 1942. Historically, had they stopped attacking at the end of September with a view to a 1942 campaign, I think we all can agree that the winter 41 would not have been so traumatic. This is not an option in GG WiTE - whenever and wherever the Germans stop, the first winter special rules overwhelm the much more favorable logistical and supply considerations.


< Message edited by rmonical -- 3/11/2013 2:14:08 AM >
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RE: Winterized Divisions - 3/11/2013 6:54:42 AM   
aspqrz

 

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The interesting thing about the first winter effects is what they represented in real life ... which not many people actually know.

The problem was, of course, as we all know, logistics ... but the nitty-gritty is what very few people are aware of.

Most everyone assumes that it was simply a lack of transport ... and, of course, it was.

What they don't understand is how the lack of transport had an impact on front line supply.

The General Staff were actually no dummies. Their plans were, more or less, to do exactly what you suggest ... prioritize the winterisation of the frontline units.

Only common sense, after all.

So, what went wrong?

Something sure did, as we know from the obvious historical effects and the many and repeated complaints from the frontline troops and their commanders about lack of winterising supplies.

It was the people running the logistics system.

The rear area troops.

See ... there wasn't enough transport to supply everyone with the needed winter supplies right off the bat, and, historically and realistically, the Germans simply do not (and cannot produce) the logistical elements needed to create this capacity. The capacity to produce it simply is not only not there, it was not able to be built with the resources available ... so, in this situation, the Rear Echelon types weren't getting the nice Woolly Pullies, Greatcoats, Thermal Underwear, PoL etc. etc. etc. in anywhere near the quantities they deemed they neeeded.

Their obvious solution?

Well, there are these trainloads of the stuff heading through on the way to the front ... contents clearly labelled on each boxcar manifest ... so. those Landsers at the front don't really need it, do they?

Not as much as the REMFs do!!!

And they're the ones whose hands these "unneccessary" supplies are passing through ...

So. You can see what happened.

After several "comb throughs" at each step along the way by the REMFs there was damn all left of anything except the useless things ... like Smallarms and Artillery ammo.

The General Staff tried all sorts of things to prevent this outright pilferage ... nothing worked all that well.

The best they managed to do in the end was to actually put false shipping manifests on the boxcars, with only the routing information being correct ... and that only slowed down the pilferage ... it didn't even come close to stopping it.

Even executing "looters" wasn't really effective as the REMF Security troops were a major part of the problem ... Quis custodient ipsos custodes, so to speak ("Who will watch the Watchers?")

So, really, the rule is more a reflection of unchangeable human nature than actual supply shortages and probably shouldn't be changeable ... unless, of course, you introduce a special "Aryan Superman" rule to repeal human nature

Phil

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(in reply to rmonical)
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RE: Winterized Divisions - 3/11/2013 9:49:55 AM   
janh

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: rmonical
Has the notion of giving the German the option to Winterize some divisions been discussed?
...
The GG WiTE first winter effects are logistical in that regular supplies are not getting through and preparedness in which the combat units were not equipped for winter warfare (arguably another logistics consideration).


Yes, if you search the forum, there's probably a dozen or more threads that only cover discussions and ideas regarding blizzard rules, winterization, and the link to logistics. I think most, if not everyone, agrees that the present rule isn't perfect. WitE2 will likely see the blizzard breakdown occur from a real underlying logistics model, which they are doing for WitW now, and hopefully also things like winterization. It will also alter the value that cities have as logistics centers, and fighting and retreating habits should already see some change without touching VPs.

The blizzard rules in WitE in some sense not only cover the logistics and weather effects, but they also account for the "death rush" of November/December 41, i.e. when the Germans pull a last ditch effort to reach Moscow and basically had to stop when they could advance anymore. They were overextended and burned out, which was surely another condition that only made the Soviet counteroffensives so successful. However, Wehrmacht player will rarely attack all out until the last day and stand weak (and in full contact) by the first blizzard turn. He'd get swamped badly unless the Red Army is already defeated clearly.

quote:

ORIGINAL: rmonical
The Soviets have great flexibility with how they structure their force. The Germans have little. The Soviets are able to correct one of their their biggest 1941 errors: attack everywhere and do not retreat. The Germans are not able to correct their major error - failure to prepare for a long campaign.


The lack of being able to change equipment in ToE slots, particularly tanks, on both sides is also known. Same for the lack of control over production and industry, like it was solved so nicely for the underdog side in WitP/AE.
Moreover, the flexibility question as well. (aka: fixed withdrawals, no matter whether other units would be more suitable, or the inability of delaying withdrawals for some AP if a key battle is ongoing; fixed reinforcements for Germans, while Russians can built, yet with their given AP and costs plus manpower they can only built less than historical and would benefit also from a historical, fixed reinforcement schedule; reinforcement/withdrawal schedules or lend-and-lease or Soviet AP fixed instead of adjusted up or downwards to the overall situation). Changes hopefully forthcoming with WitE2.

Regarding the role of hindsight, also the Wehrmacht side benefits from it in many aspects, from taking Leningrad to knowing when to stop, to do a fighting withdrawal during blizzard or not to overextend uncautiously in a Case Blue. Or not to leave speedbumps in "feste Plätze" fortresses that just get isolated and captured cheaply. Which of both sides benefits more from hindsight, for the whole campaign, or for just specific phases, that would be another question.

I think you can stay tuned for WitW and WitE2, both will hopefully see major changes.

< Message edited by janh -- 3/11/2013 9:51:40 AM >

(in reply to rmonical)
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RE: Winterized Divisions - 3/11/2013 5:44:15 PM   
Klydon


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As Janh mentions, this has been a well discussed topic on the boards.

Part of the issue is a lot of people think that the German High Command just needs to issue some ear muffs and warm jackets and everything would be fine, especially if we can just get those to the front line. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Such people do not take into account what happen to German equipment (lubrication issues were well known along with the buna cracking) and also the European horses that were in theater (they died by the thousands because they could not handle the exposure among other issues), and we won't mention German tanks/motor vehicles were not prepared for what winter unleashed on them in terms of lubricants and freezing up.

In addition, you can have warm clothing, etc but the Germans in the field were pretty much tenderfoots when it came to dealing with the Russian winter and the extreme cold conditions they faced. They did not understand/know how to shelter themselves, prepare for the riggors of cold weather or anything like that. They would lose men just going to the latrine. As the survivors became more experienced and learned, then conditions slowly improved.

In short, there should be no way the Germans can "plan" their way around totally avoiding the first winter in Russia. They simply don't have the experience, especially in a winter that was one of the coldest in recent history.

(in reply to janh)
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RE: Winterized Divisions - 3/11/2013 8:35:30 PM   
Leber

 

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As the logistic system broke down in late 1941, especially with the last major pushes on Tikhvin, Moscow, and Rostov, German commanders tended to prioritize shipments of ammo and equipment over winter clothes and equipment/vehicle replacements that would work in winter weather. There simply wasn't the logistic capacity to do both.

(in reply to Klydon)
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RE: Winterized Divisions - 3/11/2013 9:34:54 PM   
rmonical

 

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The notions of Winterized divisions can be implemented without developer support by scenario design. The players agree on the trade-off - designate the agreed divisions as mountain divisions and freeze them or delay their arrival for the appropriate number of turns. Withdraw them in April to be replaced by the regular version of the same division.

Based on my current experience with Toidi who has been able to get retreats on unfortified, supplied but fatigued mobile divisions since July, I struggle to believe that the arbitrary CV reduction is necessary. We already have increased attrition, reduced supply for all of 41 and further reduced supply in blizzard. I suspect that if they simply turned the special CV nerf off, two play testers could confirm that if the German's expend their army in bad weather and poor supply as they did historically, the counter attack results will be much the same as historical. Creating a build to test this notion should be easy since they only need turn turn off an exception feature.

The morale nerf would seem to address the role of learning how to fight in winters. There may be more appropriate nerfs. In 42-45, I see a lot of German divisions with experience in the mid 70s and morale in the low 60s. Maybe the more appropriate nerf is a 3 month decreasing experience nerf. It's hard to know what the German 42 morale would be in the absence of the adverse weather offensives and OOS defenses. I think it would be closer to 70 than 60 and units that are essentially idle from October to April should see very little morale hit. However, this would be a very different game in 42.

My conclusion is that because most Soviet players immediately start playing for the long campaign, the Soviet army rarely reaches a state in which the Germans would be suckered into an adverse weather, OOS offensive. So the conditions for the more successful Russian counter-attacks are never achieved. My experience with v27 is that the Russians need very little help making successful attacks.

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RE: Winterized Divisions - 3/12/2013 2:46:27 AM   
Toidi

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: rmonical

My experience with v27 is that the Russians need very little help making successful attacks.




Well, in our game you may have such an impression. The truth is that in turn 17 you have to deal with an overgrown army of 5+ million which has a build up morale from multiple successful attacks (until recently 80%-90% of those attacks were possible because you left your divisions in the open terrain after exhausting all mp)... If you deal with correctly trimmed Soviet army of approximately 4 million, your impression could be very different. In our game you rarely encounter units below 46 morale and below 80% TOE - and maybe half of the front units have morale of 49 or higher (so an unmodified CV between 2 and 3). On the other hand, an expert Axis player would fight in turn 17 around 4 million Soviets (or less) with the majority of front units having morale of 42-44. Such an army does not have nearly as much counter-attack abilities (the approximate CV of such units would be in such case around 1.4-1.6 and that is optimistic).

T.

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RE: Winterized Divisions - 3/12/2013 3:07:34 AM   
rmonical

 

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Which is close to what I am saying in the AAR I am slowly putting together. I already concluded I need to manage fatigue and reserves better. Unfortunately, I don't have the knack yet - but I should have it down by the time we get to 1942.

The Soviet army did not start that way and you routinely opened pockets, frequently routing my fatigued but full strength and somewhat supplied mobile divisions. Irrespective of the condition of the Soviet army on turn 17 in terms of size and morale, the turn 4 army should be able to have success against the emaciated Heer of December 1941.

< Message edited by rmonical -- 3/12/2013 3:15:12 AM >

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