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Victory Chart - 9/14/2014 7:00:23 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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Victory Chart:

There is a small German VP award (16 points) and they have an edge in the loss penalty. But most of the margin comes from their capture of objectives. The green line shows the margin swinging from a loss to a win over the course of the game.





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Conclusions - 9/14/2014 7:01:03 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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Conclusions:

The main purpose of this test was to see if the fix for the Ignore Losses Fortified Deployment problem was successful. Obviously, the German side was successful against fortified deployments many times in this game. However, I think a lot of that was more due to the massed artillery rather than the new feature. The extreme over-density situation prevented the achievement of very high odds in most situations. I really need a test in a less dense topic (maybe from the East Front?) to know for sure. But there weren’t any obvious problems that stood out. I think we can be encouraged about it.

But the test also serves to check out the scenario in a formal AAR for the first time (and I do hope to get this thread switched over to the main board when the time is right). I certainly liked the result, and I had forgotten how much fun this game is during all my testing duties. But there are a couple of issues. First, I need to address the Super River in Amiens. As I said during the game, I think I will give one corps out of each army an amphibious secondary icon. The players will have to keep track of which units have that feature in case they end up needing it. Next, I just have to continue to wait till TOAW applies density penalties to unstacked units. Hopefully, that’s not too far away, because this scenario really needs it (and it’s not alone).

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RE: Conclusions - 9/24/2014 2:04:50 PM   
Cfant

 

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Thanks for this interesting AAR. I played the scenario years ago against the AI, but you know... the AI never achieved a good frontline. So it's interesting to see a hotseat-game, seems to be a realistic process of the game.
Two questions:

1. Artillery counter have strong values - is there infantry included, or will they RBC?
2. Turn one - would it have been an alternativa to march into the gap south of St. Quentin?

Bye the way: 8 combat turns on turn 1 - that's amazing! Is there a major shock bonus?

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Post #: 33
RE: Conclusions - 9/24/2014 2:49:15 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Cfant2

Thanks for this interesting AAR. I played the scenario years ago against the AI, but you know... the AI never achieved a good frontline. So it's interesting to see a hotseat-game, seems to be a realistic process of the game.
Two questions:

1. Artillery counter have strong values - is there infantry included, or will they RBC?
2. Turn one - would it have been an alternativa to march into the gap south of St. Quentin?

Bye the way: 8 combat turns on turn 1 - that's amazing! Is there a major shock bonus?


Artillery do have some infantry and are unlikely to RBC. There is a small shock bonus on turn one, but note that I only got 6 combat phases in that turn. One phase consumed three rounds.

I'm not sure what you mean about a gap south of St. Quentin. Can you clarify?

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RE: Conclusions - 9/25/2014 6:23:37 AM   
Cfant

 

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Speaking of this two gaps:



I don't know the movement rates of the german counters, but given the overcrowded hexes, it might be valuable to send some into the holes of the allied defense. If they have enough movement points of course.

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RE: Conclusions - 9/25/2014 2:58:37 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Cfant2

Speaking of this two gaps:



I don't know the movement rates of the german counters, but given the overcrowded hexes, it might be valuable to send some into the holes of the allied defense. If they have enough movement points of course.


OK, now I understand. That would be an option, but the only ones available that could do it would be the units that start adjacent. And if you use them for that purpose then they won't be available for attack purposes. I thought that was more important. But there is room for other command decisions - that's wargaming.

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RE: KAISERSCHLACHT 1918 (MINI) AAR - 10/1/2014 1:47:57 AM   
SMK-at-work

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Curtis Lemay

(4. The Forces: The composition of the forces is very similar. However, the Germans, thanks to their tactics, have a significant edge in movement allowances, and enjoy the benefit of the Special Forces icon on all their Stosstruppen units. Their squads tend to be a step above the Allied squads. They have a proficiency advantage as well (all of these factors are to model the Germany’s improved tactics). And the Germans are a homogeneous force, while the Allies must combine British with French – sometimes giving an edge in cooperation. The Allies, however, have a smattering of tanks and armored cars that may stiffen their resistance. Both sides have huge artillery concentrations – this was World War I, after all.



That's not really true tho - by 1918 the western allies were fully conversant with infiltration tactics and using them almost exclusively - and the British especially combined them with the pre-eminent artillery of the war to great effect.

for these German offensives many allied units were not well trained to be sure, and infiltration tactics are not much use of the defence, and the appropriate defensive tactics of defence in depth with multiple zones was particularly not much used by the 5th army.

successful allied implementation of surprise and infiltration was demonstrated by Australians at Hamel in July. Certainly such tactics could only be successfully implemented by well trained troops - which the Germans had in their initial offensives, and the allies were able to additionally use massed armour and superb artillery tactics that the Germans did not have.

it was the allied attacks from Hamel onward that are really the first "modern warfare" - the infantry-only infiltration the Germans used was but a stepping stone that lacked an all-arms approach because the Germans didn't have all arms available.

The difference shows in the strategic effects - the German offensives suffered massive casualties, especially among the highly trained stosstruppen, and eventually failed. teh allied combined arms attacks tore the German front line "a new one" from which it never recovered.

I don't think it matters too much in eth context of this game tho - since it is concerned just with the German offensives :)

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RE: KAISERSCHLACHT 1918 (MINI) AAR - 10/1/2014 10:29:08 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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quote:

ORIGINAL: SMK-at-work

That's not really true tho - by 1918 the western allies were fully conversant with infiltration tactics and using them almost exclusively - and the British especially combined them with the pre-eminent artillery of the war to great effect.

for these German offensives many allied units were not well trained to be sure, and infiltration tactics are not much use of the defence, and the appropriate defensive tactics of defence in depth with multiple zones was particularly not much used by the 5th army.

successful allied implementation of surprise and infiltration was demonstrated by Australians at Hamel in July. Certainly such tactics could only be successfully implemented by well trained troops - which the Germans had in their initial offensives, and the allies were able to additionally use massed armour and superb artillery tactics that the Germans did not have.

it was the allied attacks from Hamel onward that are really the first "modern warfare" - the infantry-only infiltration the Germans used was but a stepping stone that lacked an all-arms approach because the Germans didn't have all arms available.

The difference shows in the strategic effects - the German offensives suffered massive casualties, especially among the highly trained stosstruppen, and eventually failed. teh allied combined arms attacks tore the German front line "a new one" from which it never recovered.

I don't think it matters too much in eth context of this game tho - since it is concerned just with the German offensives :)


For sure the last major British offensive prior to the Kaiserschlacht - Passchendaele - did not use infiltration tactics. It lasted over three months and gained only 6 miles at a cost of over 240,000 casualties. That's the same script as the Somme. They did have some success at Cambrai - due to massed tanks. If they had actually been using infiltration tactics, they should have had successes similar to Caporetto or Kaiserschlacht.

If there is evidence of infiltration post Kaiserschlacht (and even then, how can we know if it was due to infiltration and not tanks?) we can't know if it was not the result of the lessons taught during the Kaiserschlacht. I don't see any evidence that the Allies were employing infiltration at the time of the Kaiserschlacht.

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RE: KAISERSCHLACHT 1918 (MINI) AAR - 10/2/2014 2:20:06 AM   
SMK-at-work

 

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Here you go - actually back up to page 261 for the bit about bypassing defences that can't be overcome - and this was for the Canadians at Passchendaele.


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RE: KAISERSCHLACHT 1918 (MINI) AAR - 10/2/2014 8:22:05 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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quote:

ORIGINAL: SMK-at-work

Here you go - actually back up to page 261 for the bit about bypassing defences that can't be overcome - and this was for the Canadians at Passchendaele.


Perhaps the Canadians had made some changes in their tactical doctrine. But where are the results? Passchendaele? How can those results be compared to Caporetto or Kaiserschlacht? What did Passchendaele achieve that the Somme didn't? It's one thing to change a doctrine on paper. It's another to successfully carry it out in the field.

I did like the book's description of linear (pre-infiltration) tactics:

"Still, advancing in long straight lines fifty to one hundred yards apart laden with up to a hundred pounds of kit, “a load-to-weight ratio greater than that of a mule”, Canadian infantry suffered heavy casualties in a series of grinding battles from September to November 1916. The operations of 2nd Infantry Brigade were typical. Attacking from Courcelette towards several German trench lines on 26 September, the brigade initially found its supporting artillery and machine-gun barrage “very effective” and the forward battalions reached their first objective in less than ten minutes, seizing it from stunned and badly shot up defenders. The Canadians moved in “successive waves as orderly and calmly if not even better than they ever did on the parade ground”, noted a 5th Battalion observer with evident pride; by nightfall the following day such tactics had cost the battalion 465 men killed, wounded, and missing from its pre-battle strength of roughly 700."

One can easily see how infiltration tactics were a revolution compared to that. And that shows how far the Canadians had to go before they would achieve full modern tactics that the Germans had achieved. It was more than just bypassing strong-points.

< Message edited by Curtis Lemay -- 10/2/2014 9:25:16 PM >

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RE: KAISERSCHLACHT 1918 (MINI) AAR - 10/3/2014 12:57:03 AM   
SMK-at-work

 

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I wasn't comparing results - I was comparing tactics.

As I pointed out - Allied infiltration tactics were different from German ones - they were much more advanced, using combined arms that the Germans simply did not have.

And in eth 100 days they were also much more successful than the German offensives.

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RE: KAISERSCHLACHT 1918 (MINI) AAR - 10/3/2014 1:46:54 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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quote:

ORIGINAL: SMK-at-work

I wasn't comparing results - I was comparing tactics.


Results are the metric that you base the game parameters on. If their tactics really were comparable, their results should have been as well.

quote:

As I pointed out - Allied infiltration tactics were different from German ones - they were much more advanced, using combined arms that the Germans simply did not have.

And in eth 100 days they were also much more successful than the German offensives.


The 100 days were well after Kaiserschlacht. And they were just as likely to be the result of massed tanks as infantry tactics (not to mention that the Germans were out of reserves).

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RE: KAISERSCHLACHT 1918 (MINI) AAR - 10/3/2014 11:42:52 PM   
SMK-at-work

 

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The results should have been comparable if the conditions were the same - and they were not. Passchendale was fought in atrocious weather for starters - that much should be obvious!

And yet even then there were many smaller battles within the overall battle of Passchendale where the allied tactics were just as successful as the German ones in 1918 - heck even Brusilov used shock troops to break weak sections of the Austrian line in 1916 - the idea that infiltration tactics were solely used by the Germans and everyone else copied them is simply not true.

I am quite puzzled by this ferocious defence of the idea that the allies did not use infiltration tactics when quite clearly they did.

I have already acknowledged the use of allied tanks as and artillery as an improvement on the German tactics - but that doesn't mean infiltration tactics were not used - even before Laffargue wrote his famous pamphlet the French had stated that the first waves of infantry should penetrate as far as possible and leave enemy strongpoints to be dealt with by follow-up waves (16 April 1915 in Note 5779) - which the French army had attempted to do during the Second Battle of Artois when the French XXXIII Corps which advanced 4.5km in the first hour and a half of the attack.

Such tactics were not used by every formation - nor were they in the German army - but as "Platoon tactics" they were sill the foundation of the British Empire infantry tactics before the end of 1917.

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RE: KAISERSCHLACHT 1918 (MINI) AAR - 10/4/2014 12:39:00 AM   
Lobster


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quote:

ORIGINAL: SMK-at-work

Here you go - actually back up to page 261 for the bit about bypassing defences that can't be overcome - and this was for the Canadians at Passchendaele.




Some of what I read in that sounds like they were still using Civil War formations in WWI. Such arrogance and selfish pride as I read there was unforgivable. This is why I don't bother with WWI scenarios.

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RE: KAISERSCHLACHT 1918 (MINI) AAR - 10/4/2014 1:41:06 PM   
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lobster only the very begining of the War did it resemble those sort of tactics. The issue was working out how defeat the new weapons on the battlefield and also break the siege esp on the West front.

Passchendeale had a massive problem that the Arty had destroyed all the measures that had been put in place to keep the water table down plus unseasonably heavy rain..this turned the battlefield into a quagmire. Also the Gemrans had constructed an excellent defense in depth using concrete pillboxes and due to the terrible ground it became impossible to bring up the Arty to take those further behind enemy lines out.

The more you read about WW1 the more you realise alot of general opinion is influenced by myth and ignorance.

Honestly I find it alot more fascinating than WW2 both from a psychological POV and the soldiers experience and also how the War slowly evolved which all came together for the Allies in the last 100 days. You will also learn that the walking slowly in a line after going over the top was not the usual way of doing things, it was used during the first day of the Somme as they presumed the German lines would be flattened and due to the soldiers attacking where nearly all citizen soldiers it was felt this was the best way to keep control and bounding tactics would be to much to expect from them. Some germans state that if the British had rushed the trenches they wouldn't have had a chance. This walking in formation in a line to be mown down was NOT how WW1 was fought.

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RE: KAISERSCHLACHT 1918 (MINI) AAR - 10/4/2014 2:28:14 PM   
Lobster


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I know the east was somewhat more fluid. But the west was fought in a static trench warfare fashion for years. It's this static warfare on the West Front that I do not care for. IMO, only at the beginning and end of the war did anything interesting (in war game terms) happen on the West Front. I have kept one WWI S&T wargame from back in the day. Cambrai.

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RE: KAISERSCHLACHT 1918 (MINI) AAR - 10/4/2014 2:42:59 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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quote:

ORIGINAL: SMK-at-work

I am quite puzzled by this ferocious defence of the idea that the allies did not use infiltration tactics when quite clearly they did.


I just go where the evidence takes me. The results are the evidence. Everything else is irrelevant. The Allies did not have any results that could in any way be compared to Caporetto or Kaiserschlacht prior to Kaiserschlacht. The one surprising success they did have was due to massed tanks (Cambrai). So how can anyone know just how advanced, if at all, their infantry tactics really were?

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RE: KAISERSCHLACHT 1918 (MINI) AAR - 10/4/2014 2:47:35 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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quote:

ORIGINAL: wodin

You will also learn that the walking slowly in a line after going over the top was not the usual way of doing things, it was used during the first day of the Somme as they presumed the German lines would be flattened and due to the soldiers attacking where nearly all citizen soldiers it was felt this was the best way to keep control and bounding tactics would be to much to expect from them. Some germans state that if the British had rushed the trenches they wouldn't have had a chance. This walking in formation in a line to be mown down was NOT how WW1 was fought.


Did you see the quote I posted in #40? That wasn't the first day. Linear tactics were SOP for most of the war.

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RE: KAISERSCHLACHT 1918 (MINI) AAR - 10/4/2014 3:17:56 PM   
Lobster


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Curtis Lemay


quote:

ORIGINAL: wodin

You will also learn that the walking slowly in a line after going over the top was not the usual way of doing things, it was used during the first day of the Somme as they presumed the German lines would be flattened and due to the soldiers attacking where nearly all citizen soldiers it was felt this was the best way to keep control and bounding tactics would be to much to expect from them. Some germans state that if the British had rushed the trenches they wouldn't have had a chance. This walking in formation in a line to be mown down was NOT how WW1 was fought.


Did you see the quote I posted in #40? That wasn't the first day. Linear tactics were SOP for most of the war.


This is my take on it also. Going 'over the top' would in itself result in a human wave type of assault as everyone was required to attack at the same time. Considering the massive casualties produced by trench warfare it was no surprise competence was in short supply since a veteran would most likely be someone who survived for only more than a handful of months. The West Front ended up being more akin to two boxers standing toe to toe punching each other in the face without any attempt to dodge or block.

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RE: KAISERSCHLACHT 1918 (MINI) AAR - 10/5/2014 2:38:36 AM   
SMK-at-work

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Curtis Lemay


I just go where the evidence takes me. The results are the evidence. Everything else is irrelevant. The Allies did not have any results that could in any way be compared to Caporetto or Kaiserschlacht prior to Kaiserschlacht. The one surprising success they did have was due to massed tanks (Cambrai). So how can anyone know just how advanced, if at all, their infantry tactics really were?


By looking at the evidence of how they trained and what tactics the used.

Sorry you think that is irrelevant, but it seems to me that going by "results" alone does not tell you anything about the tactics at all - the Schliefflen plan didn't use infiltration tactics, and did much better than the Kaiserschlacht.

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RE: KAISERSCHLACHT 1918 (MINI) AAR - 10/5/2014 2:21:23 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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quote:

ORIGINAL: SMK-at-work

By looking at the evidence of how they trained and what tactics the used.


What evidence do we have of "how they trained and what tactics they used"? We only have vague words on paper. We don't know exactly what things they had addressed. From the text you provided we don't even know if they had abandoned marching in lines with 100 pound field packs. We don't know how wide spread any improvements had been applied throughout the BEF, and to what extent the troops themselves had bought into it. Those things can only be determined via results. And even if you want to say that Passchendaele was not a fair test because of the conditions, that only changes their grade from "F" to "Incomplete".

And, actually, I would say there is evidence that their infantry was not nearly equivalent to Germany's at this point. Remember that they did have a surprising success at Cambrai, due to massed tanks. Then the Stosstruppen came along and took it all back. That means that BEF infantry + massed tanks = Stosstruppen infantry alone.

For what it's worth, I've got two WWI scenarios on this (Kaiserschlacht and Cambrai) that both seem to work, and I definitely upgraded Stosstruppen infantry relative to all other infantry.

quote:

Sorry you think that is irrelevant, but it seems to me that going by "results" alone does not tell you anything about the tactics at all - the Schliefflen plan didn't use infiltration tactics, and did much better than the Kaiserschlacht.


The results tell the effect of the tactics, whatever they were - that's what matters in wargaming. And, I'm sure you know that the Schlieffen plan was conducted during the mobile phase of the war and can't be used for comparison.

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RE: KAISERSCHLACHT 1918 (MINI) AAR - 10/5/2014 8:14:17 PM   
SMK-at-work

 

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"Vague words on paper"? Really?? How about the British manual for infantry tactics, originally published February 1917??
Is that a little better perhaps than "vague words on paper"?

quote:

In the place of a single line of riflemen, SS143 promoted the self contained platoon comprising a small HQ and four sections of specialists. In simple terms, the attack was to be led forward by bomb and rifle sections, with the rifle grenade and Lewis gun sections following close behind. Upon contact with the enemy, the rifles and the bombers were to seek out the enemy flank and attack with fire, bayonet and bomb. The rifle grenadiers and Lewis gun team were to attempt to suppress the enemy, allowing the other sections to press home their attack.


the full text of the manual is available here in txt format from an American reprint - unfortunately the platoon formation diagrams in het appendices at the end don't reproduce in txt :/

Or the assessment of allied tactics in 1917 in this Leavenworth paper on the evolution of German tactics in WW1 - which assesses Nivelles 1917 offensive at Amiens - the page below highlights both the innovative tactics....and how the French screwed up their application.

And here's another analysis of het evolution of allied infantry tactics:

quote:

The first German assault battalions took part in the titanic struggle at Verdun in 1916 and this is erroneously cited as the first example of infiltration tactics. The British had already begun to implement wholesale changes in their minor tactical doctrine as early as the Battle of Loos in 1915. Immediately after the Battle of Loos, nearly a year before Rohr used his assault battalions at Verdun, the British infantry platoons in the company were being divided by their distinctively different roles. The fighting platoons were to press forward with all haste and find and exploit any weakness in the enemy line. The support platoon was to pin the enemy in their position by suppression fire. (Suppression fire differs from normal firing. Suppression fire is to be heavy and concentrated at one place so that the enemy does not dare raise his head over the parapet of the trench or firing slit of the bunker to fire at the advancing troops. Normal fire is a deliberate attempt to wound or kill the enemy and is not aimed at causing the enemy to seek and remain behind cover.) The third type of platoon was the carrying platoon whose job was to storm the trench or strong point. The last group was the mopping up platoon. Their job was to destroy or capture any enemy strong point or enemy stragglers.[17] The British employed this type of attack first on a large scale in 1916. These tactics were very similar to the German Stormtrooper tactics that would be copied and then employed on a large scale at Cambrai in November 1917. Previously to the Battle of Cambrai, the Germans utilized small Stormtrooper units that had been trained in the new tactics. These Stormtrooper units were attached to larger infantry units which used the older tactics. During the winter of 1917 and 1918, the entire German Army on the Western Front underwent training in the new tactics. Thus contrary to popular myth, the British adopted these tactics throughout their entire army fully a year before the Germans.
(emphasis is mine)

honestly - there is bucketloads of information available now, and really no excuse for the serious wargamer to reproduce any of the hoary old myths of WW1 tactics.

The results tell you the effects of the tactics AND of the defence, and all the other conditions that applied during the combat - it is silly to take one without the others.

For what it's worth I did mention earlier on that I didn't think your gradings were wrong for these scenarios!




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< Message edited by SMK-at-work -- 10/5/2014 10:24:21 PM >

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Post #: 52
RE: KAISERSCHLACHT 1918 (MINI) AAR - 10/6/2014 6:34:47 PM   
Curtis Lemay


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quote:

ORIGINAL: SMK-at-work

"Vague words on paper"? Really?? How about the British manual for infantry tactics, originally published February 1917??
Is that a little better perhaps than "vague words on paper"?


Nope. Sorry that you can't seem to get that. Do you seriously believe that reading the field manual tells you anything about how a force will perform in action?

quote:

quote:

In the place of a single line of riflemen, SS143 promoted the self contained platoon comprising a small HQ and four sections of specialists. In simple terms, the attack was to be led forward by bomb and rifle sections, with the rifle grenade and Lewis gun sections following close behind. Upon contact with the enemy, the rifles and the bombers were to seek out the enemy flank and attack with fire, bayonet and bomb. The rifle grenadiers and Lewis gun team were to attempt to suppress the enemy, allowing the other sections to press home their attack.


the full text of the manual is available here in txt format from an American reprint - unfortunately the platoon formation diagrams in het appendices at the end don't reproduce in txt :/

Or the assessment of allied tactics in 1917 in this Leavenworth paper on the evolution of German tactics in WW1 - which assesses Nivelles 1917 offensive at Amiens - the page below highlights both the innovative tactics....and how the French screwed up their application.

And here's another analysis of het evolution of allied infantry tactics:

quote:

The first German assault battalions took part in the titanic struggle at Verdun in 1916 and this is erroneously cited as the first example of infiltration tactics. The British had already begun to implement wholesale changes in their minor tactical doctrine as early as the Battle of Loos in 1915. Immediately after the Battle of Loos, nearly a year before Rohr used his assault battalions at Verdun, the British infantry platoons in the company were being divided by their distinctively different roles. The fighting platoons were to press forward with all haste and find and exploit any weakness in the enemy line. The support platoon was to pin the enemy in their position by suppression fire. (Suppression fire differs from normal firing. Suppression fire is to be heavy and concentrated at one place so that the enemy does not dare raise his head over the parapet of the trench or firing slit of the bunker to fire at the advancing troops. Normal fire is a deliberate attempt to wound or kill the enemy and is not aimed at causing the enemy to seek and remain behind cover.) The third type of platoon was the carrying platoon whose job was to storm the trench or strong point. The last group was the mopping up platoon. Their job was to destroy or capture any enemy strong point or enemy stragglers.[17] The British employed this type of attack first on a large scale in 1916. These tactics were very similar to the German Stormtrooper tactics that would be copied and then employed on a large scale at Cambrai in November 1917. Previously to the Battle of Cambrai, the Germans utilized small Stormtrooper units that had been trained in the new tactics. These Stormtrooper units were attached to larger infantry units which used the older tactics. During the winter of 1917 and 1918, the entire German Army on the Western Front underwent training in the new tactics. Thus contrary to popular myth, the British adopted these tactics throughout their entire army fully a year before the Germans.
(emphasis is mine)

honestly - there is bucketloads of information available now, and really no excuse for the serious wargamer to reproduce any of the hoary old myths of WW1 tactics.


Except for the actual results that were produced by the Allies in 1916 and 1917.

quote:

The results tell you the effects of the tactics AND of the defence, and all the other conditions that applied during the combat - it is silly to take one without the others.


We know what both sides were achieving offensively on the Western Front in 1915-1917. They were achieving advances that wouldn't even register on a 15km/hex map. That changed radically for the Germans with the Kaiserschlacht. We can therefore be sure that they had indeed achieved a revolution in tactics. That didn't happen for the Allies till well after Kaiserschlacht.

quote:

For what it's worth I did mention earlier on that I didn't think your gradings were wrong for these scenarios!


Well, those designs strongly leveraged Stosstruppen combat strength relative to all others in order to account for their superior tactics.

< Message edited by Curtis Lemay -- 10/6/2014 7:39:54 PM >

(in reply to SMK-at-work)
Post #: 53
RE: KAISERSCHLACHT 1918 (MINI) AAR - 12/16/2014 8:09:47 PM   
golden delicious


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Curtis Lemay

Well, those designs strongly leveraged Stosstruppen combat strength relative to all others in order to account for their superior tactics.


Just picking up on all this.

What's striking is not the different tactics of the lead German units in the Spring offensive, but the fact that those units were put together from the best personnel from each unit. As SMK has demonstrated, these tactical innovations were known to the Allies well before 1918, but by concentrating their best men in a few units, the Germans were able to achieve an offensive momentum previously impossible.

It's easy to see how big a factor this could be when one considers the post-Second World War US study which found that only around two in ten soldiers actively seeks to shoot and kill the enemy. Pick those two men from every ten and put them in the same unit and you will end up with an army of which 20% is extremely lethal, and 80% of which is largely useless.

Ultimately, though, this was a false dawn for the German army. Even these elites were only able to advance 40 miles, and the real decider of the campaign- attrition- was not in their favour once the quality of the troops is factored in.

The 80% was then left over, and the Allies rolled over it in their Summer offensive. What's interesting is to speculate what would have happened if the Germans had stayed on the defensive. It seems unlikely the Allies could have won the war in 1918, but as it was Germany was starving in 1919, and it's hard to seem them being better off under the blockade.

None of this is a commentary on the scenario, which I've not looked at.

< Message edited by golden delicious -- 12/16/2014 9:11:07 PM >


_____________________________

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(in reply to Curtis Lemay)
Post #: 54
RE: KAISERSCHLACHT 1918 (MINI) AAR - 12/17/2014 12:00:58 AM   
Curtis Lemay


Posts: 12638
Joined: 9/17/2004
From: Houston, TX
Status: online

quote:

ORIGINAL: golden delicious

What's striking is not the different tactics of the lead German units in the Spring offensive, but the fact that those units were put together from the best personnel from each unit. As SMK has demonstrated, these tactical innovations were known to the Allies well before 1918, ...


Regardless of what they may have "known", I remain dubious that the Allies actually could match the Germans in that regard. I think a good case can be made that the Allies didn't even grasp infiltration tactics until they were hit over the head with them shortly after May, 1940. They fully expected it to be WWI all over again.

quote:

but by concentrating their best men in a few units, the Germans were able to achieve an offensive momentum previously impossible.


They did select for youth, experience, and fitness. But they also got weeks of special training in infiltration tactics. I doubt that they selected for who was willing to fire their weapon at the enemy (how would that even have been determined?).

quote:

It's easy to see how big a factor this could be when one considers the post-Second World War US study which found that only around two in ten soldiers actively seeks to shoot and kill the enemy. Pick those two men from every ten and put them in the same unit and you will end up with an army of which 20% is extremely lethal, and 80% of which is largely useless.


I find it dubious that 80% of soldiers are useless. More likely is that they didn't restrict that study to front line squads. Most of the US Army in WWII was rear-area, so most soldiers didn't ever even encounter an enemy.

Regardless, most firepower is provided by artillery, mortars, and machine guns. (And in WWII, add armor and aircraft). The lethality of individual riflemen isn't a critical factor, and one can well imagine riflemen not thinking their contribution would be very necessary compared to all those other firepower factors.

But infiltration itself, regardless of firepower contribution, contributes to the collapse of a defensive position.

quote:

Ultimately, though, this was a false dawn for the German army. Even these elites were only able to advance 40 miles, and the real decider of the campaign- attrition- was not in their favour once the quality of the troops is factored in.


By that line of reasoning, May, 1940, was a false dawn for the German Army, too.

quote:

The 80% was then left over, and the Allies rolled over it in their Summer offensive.


Let's not forget the huge American reinforcements and the use of massed tank combat.

(in reply to golden delicious)
Post #: 55
RE: KAISERSCHLACHT 1918 (MINI) AAR - 12/17/2014 9:02:27 PM   
golden delicious


Posts: 4933
Joined: 9/5/2000
From: London, Surrey, United Kingdom
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quote:

ORIGINAL: Curtis Lemay

Regardless of what they may have "known", I remain dubious that the Allies actually could match the Germans in that regard.


If you go to the source that SMK quoted, it provides a number of specific examples of sophisticated infantry tactics being employed by the British Army prior to 1918, with references to diaries and journals of individual soldiers.

quote:

I think a good case can be made that the Allies didn't even grasp infiltration tactics until they were hit over the head with them shortly after May, 1940. They fully expected it to be WWI all over again.


What they expected was the campaign they were preparing for in 1919.

You're painting a picture of the Allied armies sending men forward in columns right up until the Armistice. That's a cliche but not one that's accurate. Actually, the Allies were feeling their way toward a good combined arms solution to the problem of trench warfare, and one which proved to actually work in the second half of 1918. The problem in 1940 was that in the intervening 20 years technology had made it possible for the attacker to deliver concentrated power well beyond the zone of battle that existed in the First World War.

quote:

They did select for youth, experience, and fitness. But they also got weeks of special training in infiltration tactics. I doubt that they selected for who was willing to fire their weapon at the enemy (how would that even have been determined?).


That they fire their weapons isn't the point; I was merely illustrating that most men in combat arms are- quite understandably- not interesting in killing the enemy or winning the battle, but only in surviving. The balance are the men who were drawn out for the Spring 1918 offensives.

quote:

I find it dubious that 80% of soldiers are useless. More likely is that they didn't restrict that study to front line squads. Most of the US Army in WWII was rear-area, so most soldiers didn't ever even encounter an enemy.


Go read Men Against Fire. This is a study about riflemen in rifle squads.

quote:

Regardless, most firepower is provided by artillery, mortars, and machine guns.


It is in the forward and battle zones, but Allied lines stretched back behind these. The difference here is that the Germans were able to continue to be effective offensively outside the range of the bulk of their artillery, which was virtually immobile during the battle. Here, the ability of riflemen to actually aggressively attack the enemy is going to be critical- even if most casualties are still by machine gun fire.

quote:

By that line of reasoning, May, 1940, was a false dawn for the German Army, too.


In what world are these situations analogous?

In 1918, the Germans suffered roughly equal casualties with their best troops against the Allies average, and in doing so they advanced forty miles in a limited sector of the front.

In 1940, the Germans caused twice the casualties that they suffered even before counting prisoners. Including prisoners brings that ratio to about 12 to 1. They overran the whole of the Low Countries and northeastern France in three weeks.

Try using facts instead of flippant remarks.

quote:

Let's not forget the huge American reinforcements and the use of massed tank combat.


Had massive additions of men produced rapid, decisive advances in 1915, 1916 or 1917? Moreover if you believe the British hadn't mastered modern infantry tactics by 1918, it's fantasy to think the US Army had done so.

Had massed deployment of armour produced decisive results at Cambrai and elsewhere? Note also that British analysts determined that the addition of tanks to an infantry assault only marginally increased the chance of success, and not as much as simple pouring in more shells.

The difference in 1918 was that the German army had loss hundreds of thousands of its best men and was essentially a shell.

< Message edited by golden delicious -- 12/17/2014 10:34:29 PM >


_____________________________

"What did you read at university?"
"War Studies"
"War? Huh. What is it good for?"
"Absolutely nothing."

(in reply to Curtis Lemay)
Post #: 56
RE: KAISERSCHLACHT 1918 (MINI) AAR - 12/17/2014 10:24:01 PM   
Curtis Lemay


Posts: 12638
Joined: 9/17/2004
From: Houston, TX
Status: online

quote:

ORIGINAL: golden delicious

If you go to the source that SMK quoted, it provides a number of specific examples of sophisticated infantry tactics being employed by the British Army prior to 1918, with references to diaries and journals of individual soldiers.


Yet, as I pointed out to SMK, they did not produce any sort of results remotely comparable to Caporeto or Kaiserschlacht prior to 1918.

No matter how long I study Rory McIlroy's swing, I can't claim to be his equal till I win several major tournaments. (Especially since I still shoot in the 80's from the middle tees.)

quote:

What they expected was the campaign they were preparing for in 1919.

You're painting a picture of the Allied armies sending men forward in columns right up until the Armistice. That's a cliche but not one that's accurate. Actually, the Allies were feeling their way toward a good combined arms solution to the problem of trench warfare, and one which proved to actually work in the second half of 1918. The problem in 1940 was that in the intervening 20 years technology had made it possible for the attacker to deliver concentrated power well beyond the zone of battle that existed in the First World War.


Again, the Allies had massed tanks and huge American reinforcements in 1918. We don't know whether that alone was sufficient to produce 1918's results for them. For sure they didn't produce 1940's results in 1918. The Germans didn't either, but they didn't have the tank part of the equation. Once they combined the infiltration part with the tank part they got blitzkrieg. If the Allies really had the infiltration part in 1918, why didn't they produce something like 1940?

quote:

That they fire their weapons isn't the point; I was merely illustrating that most men in combat arms are- quite understandably- not interesting in killing the enemy or winning the battle, but only in surviving. The balance are the men who were drawn out for the Spring 1918 offensives.


You're actually claiming that the Germans could select for that factor and that that was what they did? What are you basing that on?

quote:

It is in the forward and battle zones, but Allied lines stretched back behind these. The difference here is that the Germans were able to continue to be effective offensively outside the range of the bulk of their artillery, which was virtually immobile during the battle. Here, the ability of riflemen to actually aggressively attack the enemy is going to be critical- even if most casualties are still by machine gun fire.


Stosstruppen training, in other words.

quote:

In what world are these situations analogous?

In 1918, the Germans suffered roughly equal casualties with their best troops against the Allies average, and in doing so they advanced forty miles in a limited sector of the front.

In 1940, the Germans caused twice the casualties that they suffered even before counting prisoners. Including prisoners brings that ratio to about 12 to 1. They overran the whole of the Low Countries and northeastern France in three weeks.


Quite analogous.

1. You decried the Kaiserschalcht because it failed to win the war. Neither did France 1940.

2. You praised France 1940 because it produced results that were shockingly better than what had been the previous offensive norm. So did the Kaiserschlacht.

quote:

Had massive additions of men produced rapid, decisive advances in 1915, 1916 or 1917? Moreover if you believe the British hadn't mastered modern infantry tactics by 1918, it's fantasy to think the US Army had done so.


No, but then they didn't have massed tanks, too.

quote:

Had massed deployment of armour produced decisive results at Cambrai and elsewhere? Note also that British analysts determined that the addition of tanks to an infantry assault only marginally increased the chance of success, and not as much as simple pouring in more shells.


No. but then they didn't have massive additions of men, too. Yet Cambrai did produce surprising results that hadn't been seen on the Western Front for years.

quote:

The difference in 1918 was that the German army had loss hundreds of thousands of its best men and was essentially a shell.


No doubt that was part of it. But tank warfare and the Americans were also.

(in reply to golden delicious)
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