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Trenches . . . - 12/15/2020 6:13:40 AM   
stockwellpete

 

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I am reading in a number of different places now that German trenches were superior to British and French trenches on the Western Front. They were much deeper and often concrete was used. They were also built on higher ground more often than the Entente trenches, which made them more hygienic and less liable to flooding.

At the moment all countries in the game can research to level 5 for their Trenches, but I was wondering if that might be adjusted a bit (in a mod). So, if German trenches should still be at level 5, what should the other countries' entrenchment levels be?

Maybe France/UK/USA should be at 4? But what about in Serbia and on the Eastern Front? Were the trenches there generally similar to the British and French trenches?
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RE: Trenches . . . - 12/15/2020 6:53:57 AM   
Dazo


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Hi stockwellpete :) ,

Just my opinion but I find it good as it is.
German advantage for most of the war will usually be shown by having them investing more and earlier in trench chits giving them an edge of 1 level for most of the war.

Also, german trench advantage mostly came from the fact they wern't forced to attack to regain ground lost in 1914 and could just let Entente come and get them.
They were able to chose where to dig and had the necessary ressources to do it well because most of their lines where considered permanent ones while french just saw them as temporary launch pads for assaults. Often meaning attacks on heights from below and moving through mud pools and swamped lowlands made even worse by all the bombing.
Entente and especially French "had" to attack because of various factors (including dubious doctrinal/psychological ones) meaning they saw no need to improve trenches when they were supposed to take german ones in 24 hours (ahem)...
Germans decided first to go full defensive to deal with Russians in 1915 and faced french assault waves so they had all the experience they needed to develop elaborated and deadly defensive lines that wern't supposed to be vacated for at least a year.

You can think about the Yser area in 1914 Flanders where Germans where the ones with wet feets when it was flooded. You can't really build concrete defenses in those areas.
You can also think about austrian trenches before Brussilov offensive which were more like fortified luxury living quarters with bakeries, hospitals and whatever because it was quiet a long time there before the attack. It ended up badly for them with a lot of guys being trapped in their own deep trenches. Morale wasn't as good as the trenches and well directed artillery fire is a great equalizer...

(in reply to stockwellpete)
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RE: Trenches . . . - 12/15/2020 7:20:20 AM   
OldCrowBalthazor


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Hello Stockwell

You have a lot of really great ideas, particularly with artillery. Respectfully, however, I think the trench system as it is now is fine. At least in pvp matches, the Germans usually get into the concrete first mainly because the Entente has to catch up with other things. A savvy Central Powers player understands that Germany has to go all in with trench tech so that he can hold out as long as possible the fronts where he is on the defensive while they are on offensive somewhere else. In addition, having superior trench tech. means that the Germans can take a place and hold it easier, and the Germans at the very least have to move forward somewhere (and in multiple places preferably) if they want to win the war.

< Message edited by OldCrowBalthazor -- 12/15/2020 8:05:57 AM >

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RE: Trenches . . . - 12/15/2020 8:24:29 AM   
stockwellpete

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Dazo

Hi stockwellpete :) ,

Just my opinion but I find it good as it is.
German advantage for most of the war will usually be shown by having them investing more and earlier in trench chits giving them an edge of 1 level for most of the war.

Also, german trench advantage mostly came from the fact they wern't forced to attack to regain ground lost in 1914 and could just let Entente come and get them.
They were able to chose where to dig and had the necessary ressources to do it well because most of their lines where considered permanent ones while french just saw them as temporary launch pads for assaults. Often meaning attacks on heights from below and moving through mud pools and swamped lowlands made even worse by all the bombing.
Entente and especially French "had" to attack because of various factors (including dubious doctrinal/psychological ones) meaning they saw no need to improve trenches when they were supposed to take german ones in 24 hours (ahem)...
Germans decided first to go full defensive to deal with Russians in 1915 and faced french assault waves so they had all the experience they needed to develop elaborated and deadly defensive lines that wern't supposed to be vacated for at least a year.

You can think about the Yser area in 1914 Flanders where Germans where the ones with wet feets when it was flooded. You can't really build concrete defenses in those areas.
You can also think about austrian trenches before Brussilov offensive which were more like fortified luxury living quarters with bakeries, hospitals and whatever because it was quiet a long time there before the attack. It ended up badly for them with a lot of guys being trapped in their own deep trenches. Morale wasn't as good as the trenches and well directed artillery fire is a great equalizer...


Thanks Dazo. The most I was thinking of doing on the Western Front was maxing Entente Trench Tech at 4, instead of 5. I didn't know that about the Austro-Hungarian trenches so they sound like Trench Tech 5 too. What about Russian and Ottoman trenches? Maybe they could be 4 as well?

(in reply to Dazo)
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RE: Trenches . . . - 12/15/2020 8:27:44 AM   
stockwellpete

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: OldCrowBalthazor

Hello Stockwell

You have a lot of really great ideas, particularly with artillery. Respectfully, however, I think the trench system as it is now is fine. At least in pvp matches, the Germans usually get into the concrete first mainly because the Entente has to catch up with other things. A savvy Central Powers player understands that Germany has to go all in with trench tech so that he can hold out as long as possible the fronts where he is on the defensive while they are on offensive somewhere else. In addition, having superior trench tech. means that the Germans can take a place and hold it easier, and the Germans at the very least have to move forward somewhere (and in multiple places preferably) if they want to win the war.


Yes, it may be OK as it is. I might try a game with the Tech adjusted for Trench Warfare just to see what happens. It is a very straightforward thing to change - a matter of a few seconds. I am just reading in detail for the first time about the military aspects of WW1 and when you do that there are always more questions than answers.

< Message edited by stockwellpete -- 12/15/2020 8:28:41 AM >

(in reply to OldCrowBalthazor)
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RE: Trenches . . . - 12/15/2020 9:47:14 AM   
Dazo


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quote:

ORIGINAL: stockwellpete
Thanks Dazo. The most I was thinking of doing on the Western Front was maxing Entente Trench Tech at 4, instead of 5. I didn't know that about the Austro-Hungarian trenches so they sound like Trench Tech 5 too. What about Russian and Ottoman trenches? Maybe they could be 4 as well?

"Austrians believed their trenches to be impregnable. They had dug five trench lines in some places, 8 meters deep, covered with logs and full of supplies and weapons. The soldiers lived comfortably with facilities just behind the front like bakeries. [...] Brussilov attacks on 4th June. He makes fire walls with his artillery and trap Austrians in their deep shelters where they can only die or surrender."
Anthony Livesey, Atlas de la première guerre mondiale, Autrement, Paris, 1996, p98
(I have the french edition so I translated it back)

What I know about others:

As for OE ones it's more of a mixed bag due to various geographical theaters (desert, mountain and such). They usually dig well though their trenches arn't as elaborated as german ones but it's mostly due to a lack of equipment. You still have german assistance all over the place for officer and technical training.
If you want to "dig" more about that, look at Kut el Amara siege or the trenches them made around Gallipoli which were no joke (Liman von Sanders in command with mostly german officers) while those in Palestine were quite bad. In the Caucasus they relied more on mountains and difficult terrain than state of the art trenches.

Russian ones are even more disparate because of front length, various terrain, appalling living conditions and lack of supplies. Plus, like French, russian soldiers were overall more fitted for offensive than defensive. They had many hands to dig but technical mastery was lacking and many officers just didn't care.
Some positions were still quite hard to crack like Riga which Germans had to flank and attack with new tactics even at the end of the war.

In the end, trench techniques were more or less the same but Germans had more ressources and will to implement them fully.

That said, feel free to experiment with the editor ;) .

< Message edited by Dazo -- 12/15/2020 9:49:12 AM >

(in reply to stockwellpete)
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RE: Trenches . . . - 12/15/2020 1:41:52 PM   
1775Cerberus

 

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It is a very deep subject that you have breached. (Pardon the puns.) There is not a definitive one size answer to your question as others have demonstrated. The Germans often speak in memoirs and after action reports of the troops in the "first line of trenches" fighting from connected shell craters and hastily dug strong points. Hold your hand out and separate your fingers. Thats how the Germans were defending while the machineguns, mortars, and counter attack troops were concreted in on second, third, and fourth lines. Sometimes the lines being connected by covered ways to avoid machinegun barrages and airburst artillery. Then all that was tied into "Stellung"(sp) positions that held the commanding ground and was the local focus of defense.

The British/Commonwealth and French had two separate views of digging and sighting trenches. Then lets not even get into maintenance, hygiene, and the sighting of forces by each. The Russians seem to have been influenced by French manuals and experience in the Russo Japanese War. The AH and Italians were a bit of everything depending on what part of the front you were on. Rommel's "Infantry Attacks" has quite a bit of information on both French trenches, and the Italian front trenches.

Also views/ tactics changed as the war went along. In 14 it was everyone in the front line. By late 15 it was a gradual move to defense in depth, led by the Germans followed by everyone else at various speeds. By the time of the Somme the Germans had transitioned to the "deep battle" where lines could be three to seven miles deep. The French had keep the "offensive" mindset for longer with more populated forward trenches until after the mutinies'. The British were coming around to the German views but even by the time of the 1918 offensive the British were not as prepared in depth as the events made them wish they were. The AH and Italians were tunneling mountains to create shelters, fighting positions, supply points, and covered ways that exist to this day.

For the Ottomans I echo Dazo. When the Ottoman solder was well led, they had better positions. When they were not, the preparations suffered. Pretty much the same for any army at any time though, isnt it?

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RE: Trenches . . . - 12/15/2020 2:48:53 PM   
MVP7

 

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Even if Entente historically didn't get their trenches to "level 5" I don't see why they should be prevented from researching that level in the game. It's just as much a strategic decision for the player to make as deciding where to send their units or where to launch an attack. Without all those choices you would end up with a history book rather than a strategy game.

(in reply to 1775Cerberus)
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RE: Trenches . . . - 12/15/2020 3:45:55 PM   
stockwellpete

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: MVP7

Even if Entente historically didn't get their trenches to "level 5" I don't see why they should be prevented from researching that level in the game. It's just as much a strategic decision for the player to make as deciding where to send their units or where to launch an attack. Without all those choices you would end up with a history book rather than a strategy game.


Well, I suppose my response to that is that if it is thought that German historical entrenchment is best represented by a value of 5 and Entente entrenchment is best represented by a value of 4, then if you are going to allow the Entente to develop Trench Tech level 5 then you would have to allow the Germans to develop Tech level 6. Otherwise you are allowing hypothetical entrenchment to the Entente and only historical entrenchment to the Central Powers. That is not particularly balanced.

(in reply to MVP7)
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RE: Trenches . . . - 12/16/2020 1:33:06 AM   
1775Cerberus

 

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The British were using prefab concrete to build machine gun positions and shelters in late 16. Dont let the levels of intrenchment make you think of concrete and not concrete. These levels of intrenchment are as much as doctrine and employment as they are the structures themselves. If the British and French had thought they were needed they too could have built zones of defense as elaborate as the Germans were creaating.

Much the same way that I view artillery levels in the game. Things that are standard for all but the newest training cannon cocker were developed during the war. Not only in the weight of shot, but in the employment of shot, mission types, and techniques. From 1914 to 1918 artillery went from open sights to firing unregistered off of maps with accuracy and walking a barrage for a mile before displacing to a new firing position.

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RE: Trenches . . . - 12/16/2020 3:49:37 AM   
MVP7

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: stockwellpete
quote:

ORIGINAL: MVP7
Even if Entente historically didn't get their trenches to "level 5" I don't see why they should be prevented from researching that level in the game. It's just as much a strategic decision for the player to make as deciding where to send their units or where to launch an attack. Without all those choices you would end up with a history book rather than a strategy game.

Well, I suppose my response to that is that if it is thought that German historical entrenchment is best represented by a value of 5 and Entente entrenchment is best represented by a value of 4, then if you are going to allow the Entente to develop Trench Tech level 5 then you would have to allow the Germans to develop Tech level 6. Otherwise you are allowing hypothetical entrenchment to the Entente and only historical entrenchment to the Central Powers. That is not particularly balanced.

In the game you can have a situation where Germany and Russia are the front runners of armored warfare while the British and the French might not have invested any MPP into that field. I don't think that is something that should be prevented or even discouraged. These are just strategic decisions the players can choose to make in the game.

If historically Germans had better trenches at the end of war than the Entente then that's just how they ended using their "research chits". There's no reason why the British or the French would be inherently incapable of developing as good or better trenches than the Germans.

A strategy game requires room to deviate from historical strategy, otherwise it would just be an interactive history book.

< Message edited by MVP7 -- 12/16/2020 3:50:17 AM >

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RE: Trenches . . . - 12/16/2020 8:47:33 AM   
stockwellpete

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: MVP7
A strategy game requires room to deviate from historical strategy, otherwise it would just be an interactive history book.


Yes, of course. That is why I think it might be good to give Germany and Austro-Hungary an extra level of Trench Tech. At the moment in games, I am still being blasted out of my positions on the Western Front from about 1916 onwards. I can fight delaying actions and direct more and more units there, but the AI just lines up 6 or 7 Artillery units and destroys my positions every 2 or 3 turns.

When I finished my last game as Central Powers on default Veteran level, I managed to achieve a "Stalemate" by late 1918. But I was going to lose the war if it had continued as Germany was looking very battered. When the final screen came up to show the positions of all the units the British and French had 8 rows (!) of densely packed units attacking on the Western Front, while Germany had one and a half rows of increasingly battered looking units. The USA had only entered the war on the very last turn and they had not even got to Europe yet. There was still some space around Bordeaux for them to land.

I suppose my point is that I have never seen the Entente side suffer a Somme-like debacle in the later game. When the attack comes it is just crushing. It is this that has prompted me to look at things like artillery and trenches to see if I can tweak things a little bit to give myself a better game.

In my latest game I have reduced Trench Tech to 4, except for Germany and A-H and I have adjusted the Artillery numbers to give Germany parity with UK/France combined. The other thing I might do in future is strengthen Fortresses, Fortifications and Fortified Towns just a little bit although the jury is still out on that idea.

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RE: Trenches . . . - 12/16/2020 8:54:25 AM   
The Land

 

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If anyone wants ideas on limiting Entente tech vs Germany without restricting choices too much, have a look at my "Lions Led by Donkeys" AAR. I houseruled Entente tech (and HQs) extensively and the results were pretty fun. But you don't have to go that far, the simplest single thing you can do in the editor is to reduce the number of chits that can be invested in Trench Warfare from 2 to 1 for everyone apart from Germany, that virtually ensures that the Germans will be better at trench warfare for the whole of 1915-17.

_____________________________


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RE: Trenches . . . - 12/16/2020 9:12:32 AM   
stockwellpete

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: The Land

If anyone wants ideas on limiting Entente tech vs Germany without restricting choices too much, have a look at my "Lions Led by Donkeys" AAR. I houseruled Entente tech (and HQs) extensively and the results were pretty fun. But you don't have to go that far, the simplest single thing you can do in the editor is to reduce the number of chits that can be invested in Trench Warfare from 2 to 1 for everyone apart from Germany, that virtually ensures that the Germans will be better at trench warfare for the whole of 1915-17.


Actually, that is a very good idea. I will try that in my next game.

(in reply to The Land)
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RE: Trenches . . . - 12/16/2020 8:28:59 PM   
Chernobyl

 

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I think trenches are fine. Germany tends to get them slightly faster simply because Germany has the largest economy in the game of any single nation. If the Entente does a defensive strategy early then neither side will be pressured and both sides will tech heavily. In that case, France and Russia tend to get trenches level 1 slightly after Germany does (all nations should consider putting 4 chits into trench warfare asap because it's effective and cheap).

If the Entente is very aggressive, they tend to lag behind in trench warfare especially if Russia is taking heavy losses (Trench Warfare costs 75 for them instead of 50 or 60). I've seen France opponents invest only a tiny bit into tech in order to constantly attack, reinforce, buyback. In conjunction with a strong Russia push this can be terrifying. It forces me as Germany to spend less on tech, but I still manage to put 3-4 chits into Trench Warfare because it's cheap and ultimately getting extra trench levels puts a halt to these pushes (if I haven't broken somewhere already).

In general I am in favor of lowering maximum tech chits currently invested for several techs (Gas/Shell Production), but trench warfare isn't one of them. I think the speed is about right.



< Message edited by Chernobyl -- 12/16/2020 8:31:08 PM >

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