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Operational or tactical?

 
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Operational or tactical? - 9/15/2014 12:23:00 AM   
macob30


Posts: 160
Joined: 7/23/2005
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My two favorite scales in wargames are grand strategy and tactical. The first one, because I like to develop plans using all weapons available (land, air and naval units), how many to produce and on which front to send them. The second one, because I like to position my units and using all terrain features to maneuver, attack, flank, deceive and ambush enemy units.

The scale for which I have the least interest is the operational level. Command Ops is considered to be an operational wargame, but the definition that I found on the web that fits the best what I think of this scale is this one: Maneuvering of troops not tactically engaged.

For me, this definition describes perfectly a game like Battles in Normandy (against all odds, a game that I enjoyed a lot), where you do exactly that: moving non engaged troops and where combats are resolved by dice rolling. I understand that the chain of command in CO starts at the divisional level and the player is in the role of a general. Still, as soon as you give an order you're engaging your units in combat, and the only way to win the battle is to be smarter than your opponents by moving and position your units while firing at and being fired by enemy units.

Not sure yet if I prefer the scale of a game like Lock 'n load or Command Ops (only comparing the scale here). Squad/platoon level is really fun, you're really close to the action. But the scale of CO is just awesome, I love it. For me, it's clearly a brilliant tactical game.

Any thoughts?

Post #: 1
RE: Operational or tactical? - 9/15/2014 9:01:17 AM   
kipanderson

 

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Macob, hi,

Well the definitions of operations I am familiar with are the standard western one and the Soviet/Russian one.

Traditionally the western definition is simply “having the right battalion, in the right place at the right time”. The Russians would go with “the outcome in one battle affecting the outcome in a second battle separated from the first by time and distance”. With the Soviets operations, as with forward detachments, they are flexible on scale. It is what you are doing that counts.

My two favourite wargames illustrate very clearly the scales I enjoy most. Combat Mission and Command Ops. Not very original choices ;).

The immersion of getting down and micro managing in CM is truly wargaming heaven. Equally the challenges of Command Ops are hugely absorbing.

I would love to see an operational game where you can resolve the clashes at the operational level if you wish, but also have the option to click down to CM to resolve a given clash and then apply the result back up the operational game. Quite few people are working on something along these lines so finally I think it will come.

We are very lucky to have wargames of as high quality as Command Ops, Combat Mission and also Flashpoint Campaigns and Scourge of War.

All the best,
Kip.






(in reply to macob30)
Post #: 2
RE: Operational or tactical? - 9/15/2014 3:29:53 PM   
phoenix

 

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FCRS 'feels' kind of inbetween CM and CO to me. You don't get to accurately hide your units in cover (you must imagine that the AI does this for you, somewhere in your designated 500m hex)but there are so few units in each counter that what you get messages about and track and react to is the killing or success of individual vehicles and squads, like in CM. It's interesting that this mix can work as well as it does, I think. CO is, however, certainly my favourite computer game ever and takes all the laurels when it comes to developed enemy and friendly AI, I think. I have been recently enjoying FCRS though, and I occasionally feel the need to watch silly little unrealistic sprites with poorly developed AI hide behind hedgerows and be obsessively micro-managed into position, in which case I turn to one of the CM titles..... Sometimes I'm even tempted to struggle with the technical details of an M1A2(SEP), in which case I turn to SB. But mostly it's CO (always) and FCRS at the moment.

< Message edited by phoenix -- 9/15/2014 6:48:23 PM >

(in reply to kipanderson)
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RE: Operational or tactical? - 9/15/2014 7:32:17 PM   
combatengineerjr


Posts: 67
Joined: 9/24/2013
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From the US view:

FM 1-02 Operational Terms and Graphics

quote:

operational art – (DOD) The employment of military forces to attain strategic and/or
operational objectives through the design, organization, integration, and conduct of
strategies, campaigns, major operations, and battles. Operational art translates the joint
force commander’s strategy into operational design, and, ultimately, tactical action, by
integrating the key activities at all levels of war. See also strategic level of war; tactical
level of war. See FM 3-0.


quote:

operational level of war – (DOD) The level of war at which campaigns and major operations
are planned, conducted, and sustained to accomplish strategic objectives within theaters or
operational areas. Activities at this level link tactics and strategy by establishing operational
objectives needed to accomplish the strategic objectives, sequencing events to achieve the
operational objectives, initiating actions, and applying resources to bring about and sustain
these events.
These activities imply a broader dimension of time or space than do tactics;
they ensure the logistic and administrative support of tactical forces, and provide the means
by which tactical successes are exploited to achieve strategic objectives. See also strategic
level of war; tactical level of war. See FM 3-0.


quote:

strategic level of war – (DOD) The level of war at which a nation, often as a member of a
group of nations, determines national or multinational (alliance or coalition) strategic
security objectives and guidance, and develops and uses national resources to accomplish
these objectives. Activities at this level establish national and multinational military
objectives; sequence initiatives; define limits and assess risks for the use of military and
other instruments of national power; develop global plans or theater war plans to achieve
these objectives; and provide military forces and other capabilities in accordance with
strategic plans. See also operational level of war; tactical level of war. See FM 3-0.


quote:

tactical level of war – (DOD) The level of war at which battles and engagements are planned
and executed to accomplish military objectives assigned to tactical units or task forces.
Activities at this level focus on the ordered arrangement and maneuver of combat elements
in relation to each other and to the enemy to achieve combat objectives. See also
operational level of war; strategic level of war. See FM 3-0.


Basically anything that is controlled by a Division HQ or lower is Tactical.


(in reply to phoenix)
Post #: 4
RE: Operational or tactical? - 9/16/2014 12:43:54 AM   
macob30


Posts: 160
Joined: 7/23/2005
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quote:

Basically anything that is controlled by a Division HQ or lower is Tactical.


That sums it up! When I think about the decisions I make in CO, I feel that they are closer to the ones I make in LnL than in BiN.

CO is just not only great with the scale, but also with time. I don't know if it exists elsewhere, but it's the only game I played where there is night time. It brings another dimension that others don't have. In fact, No other game brings me as much the feeling of command as CO. It's almost like role playing! In other games, I'm a player who is moving his little pieces on a board (not that there's anything wrong with that ), in CO, I'm a general. That's cool! And in addition, unlike LnL and BiN, I never feel the luck/random part of battles.

I downloaded the demo of CM but I didn't try it yet. I'm not willing to invest (again) much time to learn a new game, when I don't even master the ones I'm currently playing (mostly CO and LnL at the moment )! And my next game will mostly be FCRS.

(in reply to combatengineerjr)
Post #: 5
RE: Operational or tactical? - 9/19/2014 4:49:22 AM   
wodin


Posts: 8108
Joined: 4/20/2003
From: England
Status: online
I think CO is Grand Tactical. I enjoy Tactical and Grand Tactical games. Rarely a Operational or Grand Strat gamer though.

_____________________________

My Tactical wargame facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/Tacticalwargame


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Post #: 6
RE: Operational or tactical? - 9/20/2014 6:21:43 PM   
macob30


Posts: 160
Joined: 7/23/2005
Status: offline

quote:

ORIGINAL: wodin

I think CO is Grand Tactical. I enjoy Tactical and Grand Tactical games. Rarely a Operational or Grand Strat gamer though.


I agree, Grand Tactical, is a description that's fit well to the game. Considering that most Matrix games are operational, that doesn't leave us a lot of choices! I guess this is the level that is preferred by most players.

(in reply to wodin)
Post #: 7
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