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Objectives and maneuver warfare - 6/1/2010 6:33:00 PM   
henri51


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Since the game is based on attaining objectives, it is normal and inevitable that the victory conditions be also based on objectives.

However, hardcore wargamers should not go overboard with attaining objectives. There is nothing to prevent the player from "playing the history" and putting the emphasis on the "historical" objectives. For example the St Vith tutorial scenario reflects the German attempt to extract PzGrp Peiper from the Bulge through St Vith before the US forces can cut off their retreat by blocking the St Vith road as well as the German supplies.(The scenario is semi-historical as Peiper never made it back that far with his armor).

There is nothing to prevent the German player from forgetting the objectives and to see if he can extract any and how much of his PzGrp East of St Vith, whether the objectives are taken or not. OTOH the American player could try a strategy of a flexible defense EAST of ST Vith (or even West).

After all, WW2 was not fought nor determined by only taking daily or weekly objectives. So if you find it fun, don't hesitate to define you OWN objectives and to see how they work out.This is not a criticism of the game, but an idea to extend the fun.

For example, I am a great fan of maneuver warfare, so I am looking to see how I could play some of the scenarios following the doctrine of maneuver warfare (which is the official doctrine of the US Marines and also of the US Army (although the latter have been accused by some experts of saying one thing and doing another -but that is not the issue here).

Another example. One could take the St Vith scenario, and imagine a situation where the Germans have broken through Allied lines and are now determined to create havoc behind enemy lines by going after the HQ, supply and artillery units of the enemy. (This is not a very good example because in this scenario the German armor arrives too late to reach behind the lines of the US unless US flanks have been left totally unguarded - but you get the idea).

Henri
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RE: Objectives and maneuver warfare - 6/1/2010 7:42:04 PM   
MarkShot

 

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Well, you can always into the Scenario Editor and just change objectives and points.

Although the AI is not scripted, its behavior is controlled by the use of objectives. So, I don't know if you could just toss it onto a map with no objectives and have it search and destroy.

However, the battle space is fairly large such that simple connecting the dots may not be the best way towards victory. Often there are key terrain features which aren't specifically scored that a worthwhile to dominate independent of scenario objectives.

Like various hill tops that afford unobstructed long range views of what you are trying to do with your forces. Various roads and junctions by which the enemy may bring in reinforcements. Various roads that are essential to maintaining the flow of supplies.

Although scenarios seem to have tended to ever increasing objectives, my inclination which I expressed in the Beta Forums is for fewer objectives. I would rather the player decide what the key features are on the map and build a plan ... as opposed to the scenario scoring already creates an implicit plan.

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RE: Objectives and maneuver warfare - 6/1/2010 7:54:41 PM   
FredSanford3

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: MarkShot

Well, you can always into the Scenario Editor and just change objectives and points.

Although the AI is not scripted, its behavior is controlled by the use of objectives. So, I don't know if you could just toss it onto a map with no objectives and have it search and destroy.

However, the battle space is fairly large such that simple connecting the dots may not be the best way towards victory. Often there are key terrain features which aren't specifically scored that a worthwhile to dominate independent of scenario objectives.

Like various hill tops that afford unobstructed long range views of what you are trying to do with your forces. Various roads and junctions by which the enemy may bring in reinforcements. Various roads that are essential to maintaining the flow of supplies.

Although scenarios seem to have tended to ever increasing objectives, my inclination which I expressed in the Beta Forums is for fewer objectives. I would rather the player decide what the key features are on the map and build a plan ... as opposed to the scenario scoring already creates an implicit plan.


One thing about physical objectives is that in my mind, the primary objective in all scenarios is the destruction (or at least neutralization) of the enemy forces. To a certain extent, you can use the physical objectives as 'bait' to trap and destroy the enemy.

When designing (or playing) a scenario, a fewer number of objectives results in the ability to create a larger 'mass de manuever' as they say in Frenglish.

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RE: Objectives and maneuver warfare - 6/1/2010 8:03:23 PM   
wodin


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Henri51,

Why not have a try at creating some alternative scenarios? Thats why the sceanrio editor there.

The more user made ones the better.

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RE: Objectives and maneuver warfare - 6/1/2010 8:19:22 PM   
MarkShot

 

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When playing and considering DESTROY THE ENEMY objectives, you need to be careful.

Even if you achieve a 2:1 kill rate, you can lose by being too aggressive. It is worth remembering that objectives need not be symmetric. So, it is quite possible that one side is in much better shape to sacrifice men and equipment than the other side. If you are on the side lacking national manpower, production capabilities, and in theater reserves, then despite achieving a favorable kill ratio, you could well hand the victory to the OPFOR in a scenario.

I learned that the hard way playing HTTR. I had a superb kill ratio in one game, but my losses were still to high relative to what the OPFOR's objectives were.

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RE: Objectives and maneuver warfare - 6/1/2010 11:02:42 PM   
henri51


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I don't disagree Mark; I just wanted to point out that there may be more than one way to play the game. An example of important points in a scenario that are not explicitly designated as objectives (as you mention) is the crossroads NW of the main bridge in the tutorial scenario. IMHO this crossroads is much more important than the village off to the side of the bridge that is not essential to maintaining a supply line to the North, but the crossroads IS such a point. Not to criticize the excellent AARS published so far on this scenario, but I don't remember anyone explicitly (including the tutorial) mentioning it as a key point for both sides -perhaps the most important after St-Vith (correct me if I am wrong - bad memory).

That is why in my own AAR I set both the town and the bridge as starting points for a delay order (taking into account that they could not be held), both ending on the crossroad where they were to hold until defeated (because at worse it would cause maximum delay to US reinforcements, and at best would cut the US line of supplies to St Vith.

So it might be worthwhile in one of you future AARs (please do more, they are good), you might take an example to warn players that a plan should not take into account only explicit objectives, but to identify "hinge" points, especially those that are critical for supply lines (of course in addition to terrain, lines of approach, ranges etc).

Another example: in the same tutorial scenario, suppose that there is an W-E road South of St-Vith suitable for armor; then a good German strategy that would "lose" the game but save Peiper AG would be to bypass St Vith altogether and run the armor along this road (of course in such a case the scenario designer would probably have defined the objectives differently, but you get the idea...).

So I have no disagreement with anything you said, and I agree that the AI has no choice but to be programmed in terms of objectives. So I am not proposing to make a scenario with no objectives; what I am recommending is for humans (solo or multiplayer)to sometimes play the scenarios without taking into account winning or losing according to game criteria, instead defining one's own objectives.

The upcoming HOI3 addon Semper Fi claims to let the player define his own objectives, but it remains to be seen exactly what that means and how it works, assuming that Semper Fi will be better initial quality than HOI3, which was launched as an Alpha leaving the bug-finding to buyers of the game. (This is not a HOI3 forum, so please don't pick up on this comment to launch a discussion on Paradox games-the issue is player-defined objectives and maneuver warfare).

Henri

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RE: Objectives and maneuver warfare - 6/2/2010 12:10:28 AM   
daft

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: henri51

I don't disagree Mark; I just wanted to point out that there may be more than one way to play the game. An example of important points in a scenario that are not explicitly designated as objectives (as you mention) is the crossroads NW of the main bridge in the tutorial scenario. IMHO this crossroads is much more important than the village off to the side of the bridge that is not essential to maintaining a supply line to the North, but the crossroads IS such a point. Not to criticize the excellent AARS published so far on this scenario, but I don't remember anyone explicitly (including the tutorial) mentioning it as a key point for both sides -perhaps the most important after St-Vith (correct me if I am wrong - bad memory).

That is why in my own AAR I set both the town and the bridge as starting points for a delay order (taking into account that they could not be held), both ending on the crossroad where they were to hold until defeated (because at worse it would cause maximum delay to US reinforcements, and at best would cut the US line of supplies to St Vith.



Henri


Do you mean Neidingen? If so, it is mentioned in the tutorial video that you could decide to place some forces there to keep you supply lines clean (or at least observe and delay any German move from that direction). It is very sound advice and the AI shoves troops through there if you leave a hole, which at best will become a nuisance to you as you move reinforcements up towards St Vith. I neglected this area and had to battle hard to get a decisive victory. I really like the dynamic the mindset you propose, coupled with the built in objectives adds to the game. You have your objectives, your main tasks as assigned by the higher-ups, and then you have the undefined tasks like the Neidingen one which superficially seems like a side trek, but in fact can be central to achieving your main goals.


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RE: Objectives and maneuver warfare - 6/2/2010 12:52:21 AM   
MarkShot

 

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Henri,

I think that is the fun of the game of looking at different various ways to approach scenarios. Certainly, there are numerous options.

My comment was just for players to beware, since there is a natural tendency to assume symmetric objectives which often may not be the case. (I did not mean to dispute anything.)

I think I have to reinstall RDOA sometime and then do some scenario comparisons with BFTB.

I really think that over these 10 years the series has moved from goal oriented to more procedure oriented scenarios.

Goal oriented - you know the Deelen Airport is important, but it is up to you to figure routes, schedule, main axis of attack, and finally how to hold onto it.

Procedure oriented - lots of VLs with very specific time windows that march you along a route or series of bridges. This type of scenario construction pretty much provides you with a defacto plan. I recall scenarios in COTA where the goal was to withdraw your force to fight another day. Along the entire route there were phase lines made of objectives that set the place and time for each fall back position.

I love the time aspect of the game. Aside from terrain analysis and task development for various forces, I enjoy developing a schedule for the battle. It seems these days the scenarios are more like "If it's Tuesday, this must be Belgium." (from the title of 1969 comedy)

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RE: Objectives and maneuver warfare - 6/2/2010 2:53:55 AM   
Real and Simulated Wars

 

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Panther Games' are THE games to experience maneuver warfare. Not only the OODA cycles flow seamlessly but also their duration depends in the player's talent. In addition, if you are playing against the computer, the enemy AI will re-asses its options if thing are not going exactly dandy. So you can mess up with the enemy's OODA cycle. The possibilities are endless.

Real estate-based objectives are a reality of military operations. Always remember that real military operations are not about you and your genius commanding skills but about a bigger and more important picture. Unfortunately, towns, crossroads and other pieces of real estate may be needed for logistics, further operations and a dozen of other reasons.

I don't know who you have been reading, Henri. I assume Bill Lind? It's not all black and white as sometimes transpires from Lind's writings. It may be worth to check Richard Simpkin's "Race to the Swift" and Bob Leonhard's "Fighting by Minutes".

This is my favorite passage from Fighting by Minutes (about how maneuver and attrition are inseparable):

quote:

In essence, today's military professional must fight according to the logic of the Roman legionary. The Roman soldier was adept with both his shield and his sword. His doctrine employed both. The shield was meant to secure the attack of the sword. The logic of the shield was metal-to-metal contact. The sword, on the other hand, was meant to execute the decisive stroke against the body of the foe. The logic of the sword was metal to-flesh contact. The legionary relied on both ideas to survive and conquer.


Cheers,





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RE: Objectives and maneuver warfare - 6/2/2010 3:05:02 AM   
henri51


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quote:

Do you mean Neidingen?


No,I meant Lommersweller.The road to that town leads to the same intersection as the road directly from the bridge, so it is clear from a supply point of view that the intersection is more important than the town, because a supply line is possible to St-Vith through the intersection from the bridge even if Lommersweller is not controlled, but if the intersection is not controlled supplies are blocked whether or not the town is controlled. Of course other places are important too, but IMHO not as important as that intersection.

Henri

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RE: Objectives and maneuver warfare - 6/2/2010 3:35:04 AM   
henri51


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Chelco

quote:

I don't know who you have been reading, Henri. I assume Bill Lind? It's not all black and white as sometimes transpires from Lind's writings. It may be worth to check Richard Simpkin's "Race to the Swift" and Bob Leonhard's "Fighting by Minutes".


Yes I have read Lind's ManeuverWarfare Handbook,but more relevant and analytical IMHO is Robert Leonhard's The Art of Maneuver.Closer to Lind's book are the US Marine Corps manuals (I forgot the numbers), and the writings of Sun Tzu and Liddell Hart ("Stategy").I have not read Simpkin's book nor Leonhard's other book you mention.

I have yet to see a wargame that allows a good simulation of Maneuver Warfare (also sometimes referred to "The strategy of the indirect approach", but this game may be it, although it is too early to say to what extent.What this game DOES model as you state is the commander's giving orders to subordinates and leaving the subordinates free to make their own plans and to modify them as the situation demanded.

It is also true that sometimes to emphasize their points writers sometimes had to exagerate a bit, like Sun Tzu's statement that a commander who has to fight the actual battle to win has not done his job properly, but this does not invalidate the important ideas being put forward.

The Maneuver Warfare idea is one that can lead to extremely hot discussions by gamers still under the influence of Clausewitz's concentration of force (I permanently left the Combat Mission forums years ago because of the firestorm my defending of Maneuver Warfare and the limitations of Combat Mission to simulate it raised - I hope it won't happen here...).

If one accepts and understands the Boyd loop, maneuver warfare follows automatically, because there is no loop if there is no maneuver.

Of course theory is one thing and practice another; maybe when a game finally favors Maneuver Warfare, I will find myself instead of the enemy caught in my own Boyd loop...

Henri

General, we have outmameuvered the unit facing us. Unfortunately it is one of ours...

< Message edited by henri51 -- 6/2/2010 3:37:34 AM >

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RE: Objectives and maneuver warfare - 6/2/2010 5:05:14 AM   
eMonticello


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quote:

ORIGINAL: henri51
I have yet to see a wargame that allows a good simulation of Maneuver Warfare...

If I recall, MPS Across the Rhine was one of the first games to dangle that carrot.


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RE: Objectives and maneuver warfare - 6/2/2010 6:17:41 AM   
jomni


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This game has elements of maneuver warfare.
In my experience with HTTR, there is no static frontline and a lot of flanking maneuvers are made.

< Message edited by jomni -- 6/2/2010 6:18:48 AM >


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RE: Objectives and maneuver warfare - 6/2/2010 10:09:03 AM   
daft

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: jomni

This game has elements of maneuver warfare.
In my experience with HTTR, there is no static frontline and a lot of flanking maneuvers are made.



That is true. I can't really come up with a game on a similar scale that incorporates more manouvre warfare than this engine does. Someone inevitably will once this is posted, but I did at least give it some thought.

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RE: Objectives and maneuver warfare - 6/2/2010 9:47:25 PM   
Real and Simulated Wars

 

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Hi Henri,

All good fun and fine reads.

Leonhard's "The Art of Maneuver" is a good book too. But remember that was written in the context of Air Land Battle and you know ... almost anything was better than Air Land Battle. :)

Cheers,



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RE: Objectives and maneuver warfare - 6/2/2010 9:56:14 PM   
TheReal_Pak40

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: eMonticello


quote:

ORIGINAL: henri51
I have yet to see a wargame that allows a good simulation of Maneuver Warfare...

If I recall, MPS Across the Rhine was one of the first games to dangle that carrot.



Ahhh! Don't mention that game. It breaks my heart every time I hear the name

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RE: Objectives and maneuver warfare - 6/2/2010 10:35:33 PM   
henri51


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quote:

ORIGINAL: TheReal_Pak40


quote:

ORIGINAL: eMonticello


quote:

ORIGINAL: henri51
I have yet to see a wargame that allows a good simulation of Maneuver Warfare...

If I recall, MPS Across the Rhine was one of the first games to dangle that carrot.



Ahhh! Don't mention that game. It breaks my heart every time I hear the name


OMG, I had forgotten about that one. I probably wrote some AARs of games at the time, but I can't remember anything about the game except that I have a very positive feeling about it still... I'll check through my old documents to see if I can find anything about it.

Henri

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RE: Objectives and maneuver warfare - 6/3/2010 12:38:36 AM   
eMonticello


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I know you created a few AARs since I included that information in the CC3 AAR that is on Grognard. Otherwise, I too, would have forgotten.

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