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Infantry - rated out of 10 for each nation - 3/25/2021 12:19:10 PM   
stockwellpete

 

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Historically in WW1. What do you think?

Here's my take on what I have read so far . . .

Germany 10
France 8
UK 7
Serbia 7
Russia 6
USA 6
Austria-Hungary 5
Greece 5
Italy 5
Ottoman Turkey 5
Belguim 4
Bulgaria 4
Romania 4


< Message edited by stockwellpete -- 3/25/2021 2:31:26 PM >
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RE: Infantry - rated out of 10 for each nation - 3/25/2021 12:27:15 PM   
The Land

 

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complicated question! Of course it varied a lot over time... Britain for instance started off very high, slumped after the original BEF was beaten up, but managed to sustain the quality of its infantry fairly well into the late war.

And are we looking at an average across formations? Or only the better formations? By late war, the best German units were better than ever, the weaker formations were a shambles.



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RE: Infantry - rated out of 10 for each nation - 3/25/2021 12:35:44 PM   
grenadier98

 

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I would rate the UK higher (9) than France (7).

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RE: Infantry - rated out of 10 for each nation - 3/25/2021 1:15:32 PM   
stockwellpete

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: The Land

complicated question! Of course it varied a lot over time... Britain for instance started off very high, slumped after the original BEF was beaten up, but managed to sustain the quality of its infantry fairly well into the late war.

And are we looking at an average across formations? Or only the better formations? By late war, the best German units were better than ever, the weaker formations were a shambles.




Yes, it is! Make of it what you will.

I would say we are looking at average across formations really, although saying that does not solve all the problems. For example, the "German" and Hungarian parts of the Austro-Hungarian army were far better than some of the regiments raised from the nationalities who didn't want to be in that empire any more.

Interesting about the BEF - most of them had never fought before. The last war that the British fought was the Boer War, which ended in 1902. So while the BEF consisted substantially of professional soldiers whose training was excellent, they still had a lot to learn on the battlefield.

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RE: Infantry - rated out of 10 for each nation - 3/25/2021 10:28:49 PM   
Platoonist


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quote:

ORIGINAL: stockwellpete

Historically in WW1. What do you think?

Here's my take on what I have read so far . . .

Germany 10
France 8
UK 7
Serbia 7
Russia 6
USA 6
Austria-Hungary 5
Greece 5
Italy 5
Ottoman Turkey 5
Belguim 4
Bulgaria 4
Romania 4


Portugal 3 (although admittedly based only on performance in Operation Georgette)

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RE: Infantry - rated out of 10 for each nation - 3/25/2021 10:56:27 PM   
The Land

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: stockwellpete

Interesting about the BEF - most of them had never fought before. The last war that the British fought was the Boer War, which ended in 1902. So while the BEF consisted substantially of professional soldiers whose training was excellent, they still had a lot to learn on the battlefield.


while the last war that France or Germany had fought was....? ;)


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RE: Infantry - rated out of 10 for each nation - 3/26/2021 12:18:22 AM   
stockwellpete

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: The Land

while the last war that France or Germany had fought was....? ;)



Ah yes, but you were saying the BEF "started off high". I have a book by Peter Hart called "Fire and Movement", which I have not read yet, about the BEF and on the dust jacket it says, " . . . for too long the British part in the 1914 campaign has been veiled in layers of self-congratulatory myth; a tale of unprepared Britain, reliant on the superior class of her regular soldiers to bolster the rabble of the unreliable French army and defeat the teeming hordes of German troops." Peter Hart is a senior historian at the Imperial War Museum in London.

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RE: Infantry - rated out of 10 for each nation - 3/28/2021 3:16:26 PM   
stockwellpete

 

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Any more suggestions, or is my original list more or less right?

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RE: Infantry - rated out of 10 for each nation - 3/28/2021 6:04:42 PM   
mdsmall

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: stockwellpete

For example, the "German" and Hungarian parts of the Austro-Hungarian army were far better than some of the regiments raised from the nationalities who didn't want to be in that empire any more.



Good point. This raises the idea of interesting idea of distinguishing between different corps in the A-H army, depending on where they were raised in the Empire. Ideally, corps from regions that became new nations after the war (e.g, Czechoslovakia or Yugoslavia) would start with a lower morale rating than corps from German or Hungarian parts of the Empire. Unfortunately, I don't think there is a way of building those kinds of distinctions between corps belonging to the same major, apart from changing their starting strength and experience. An alternative would be to introduce some new decision events later in the war (after AH national morale drops below a certain threshold) for defections from corps raised from these regions - similar to the defections that strike the Russian Army close to the end.

PS - Way back in the Dark Ages (ie the 1970s) there was a very fine but largely overlooked board war-game published by Strategy and Tactics called "Soldiers". It had scenarios for ten tactical level engagements between different armies in WW1 from the opening months of the war (ie before trench lines formed). This game made provision for the "nationality question" by requiring a die roll every time Czech units in the Austro-Hungarian Army had to fire - and 50% of the time, they would refuse.

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RE: Infantry - rated out of 10 for each nation - 3/28/2021 7:50:40 PM   
stockwellpete

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: mdsmall

Good point. This raises the idea of interesting idea of distinguishing between different corps in the A-H army, depending on where they were raised in the Empire. Ideally, corps from regions that became new nations after the war (e.g, Czechoslovakia or Yugoslavia) would start with a lower morale rating than corps from German or Hungarian parts of the Empire. Unfortunately, I don't think there is a way of building those kinds of distinctions between corps belonging to the same major, apart from changing their starting strength and experience. An alternative would be to introduce some new decision events later in the war (after AH national morale drops below a certain threshold) for defections from corps raised from these regions - similar to the defections that strike the Russian Army close to the end.


I suppose you could use "Colonial Corps" as soldiers raised from the national minorities of the A-H empire? You would need to adjust the Build Limits a bit, but you could set weaker characteristics for attack and defence (poor attack, average defence perhaps?) for these units and you would need to Rename the units when they first entered the campaign. Then there would be questions around their cost; whether they could Reform; and whether their mobilisation was integrated into the Production Queue so they would always feature in the campaign. Not a perfect solution, by any means, but it would model the A-H army a bit more accurately.

The Osprey books might be helpful to get the details right . . .

https://ospreypublishing.com/the-austro-hungarian-forces-in-world-war-i-1-pb



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RE: Infantry - rated out of 10 for each nation - 3/28/2021 10:17:13 PM   
stockwellpete

 

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I have just checked that "Colonial Corps" idea and it works OK. The A-H produces a beige-coloured infantry unit, which the colour uniform that they would have worn in European theatres, but it does enable the player to distinguish the units from standard A-H Corps.

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RE: Infantry - rated out of 10 for each nation - 4/2/2021 7:46:43 AM   
shri

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: stockwellpete

Historically in WW1. What do you think?

Here's my take on what I have read so far . . .

Germany 10
France 8
UK 7
Serbia 7
Russia 6
USA 6
Austria-Hungary 5
Greece 5
Italy 5
Ottoman Turkey 5
Belguim 4
Bulgaria 4
Romania 4




I would swap UK and France, esp. the Guards, Canadians, Anzacs were pure elite corps. French had no large breakthrough corps equivalent of the Stormtroopers or the ones mentioned. Also i would give Bulgaria a 5, Russia a 5, Italy a 4 and Romania a 3. Serbia can be 7 or even 8.

Also, WW1 gold (an old and forgotten game with lots of bugs but with some great research and details) had a great system wherein you had units as per nationality (sub-nationality) and same units were born with experience tags like - Elite, Veteran, Regular, Reserves and Conscripts.. so a Elite would get a +2 attack/defense and conscripts would get -2 attack/defense.
The elites were in low numbers, conscripts were only raised as emergency (scrapping the barrel), also costs to reinforce were pro-rata basis (Elites costing more and so on).

In addition, minor Russian nationalities like Finns, Baltics, Ukrainians, Turkish Muslims, Caucasian Muslims were given some units which would rebel if Russian morale fell below a certain point. (Caucasian Muslims would rebel if Kars fell, Turkish if Muslim conscription ordered etc.)
Similarly for Austria, Czech, Slav, units would rebel below a certain morale point causing a cascade effect. (Czech units would rebel after Kaiser Franz died, Slav would rebel anytime against Russia/Romania/Serbia but not against Italy)
For Ottomans, Arab units would rebel. (Arab units after Lawrence captures 1/2 towns)
For British the Indians would (but with a very low % of rebellion, say others were at 90% the Indians at 20% or something).


< Message edited by shri -- 4/2/2021 7:48:03 AM >

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RE: Infantry - rated out of 10 for each nation - 4/3/2021 9:36:13 AM   
stockwellpete

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: shri

I would swap UK and France, esp. the Guards, Canadians, Anzacs were pure elite corps. French had no large breakthrough corps equivalent of the Stormtroopers or the ones mentioned. Also i would give Bulgaria a 5, Russia a 5, Italy a 4 and Romania a 3. Serbia can be 7 or even 8.


I am not convinced that British infantry were better than the French. The BEF did have Guards regiments in 1914, but they suffered terrible casualties in the early months of the war so the "Guards effect" would have been largely dissipated by the end of that year. They were replaced by Kitchener's army, who only had received basic training and were not risked much in action in 1915, or in 1916 until the Somme where they suffered terrible casualties. The Anzac units I give an extra 0.5 to for their attacking stats. Basically, at the moment I have 3 bands of infantry - Germany - France/UK/Serbia - Austria-Hungary/Russia and the rest. I am experimenting with the A-H army by adding "Colonial Corps" with weaker stats to represent disgruntled national minorities.

quote:


In addition, minor Russian nationalities like Finns, Baltics, Ukrainians, Turkish Muslims, Caucasian Muslims were given some units which would rebel if Russian morale fell below a certain point. (Caucasian Muslims would rebel if Kars fell, Turkish if Muslim conscription ordered etc.)
Similarly for Austria, Czech, Slav, units would rebel below a certain morale point causing a cascade effect. (Czech units would rebel after Kaiser Franz died, Slav would rebel anytime against Russia/Romania/Serbia but not against Italy)

For Ottomans, Arab units would rebel. (Arab units after Lawrence captures 1/2 towns)
For British the Indians would (but with a very low % of rebellion, say others were at 90% the Indians at 20% or something).



This is interesting and it may be possible for me to extend my "A-H experiment" to these countries as well in the future.

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RE: Infantry - rated out of 10 for each nation - 4/6/2021 12:05:26 PM   
The Land

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: stockwellpete
Ah yes, but you were saying the BEF "started off high". I have a book by Peter Hart called "Fire and Movement", which I have not read yet, about the BEF and on the dust jacket it says, " . . . for too long the British part in the 1914 campaign has been veiled in layers of self-congratulatory myth; a tale of unprepared Britain, reliant on the superior class of her regular soldiers to bolster the rabble of the unreliable French army and defeat the teeming hordes of German troops." Peter Hart is a senior historian at the Imperial War Museum in London.


I have that in a packing box somewhere, I'll have to get it out and have a read again!


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RE: Infantry - rated out of 10 for each nation - 4/7/2021 5:58:41 PM   
lwarmonger

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: stockwellpete


I am not convinced that British infantry were better than the French. The BEF did have Guards regiments in 1914, but they suffered terrible casualties in the early months of the war so the "Guards effect" would have been largely dissipated by the end of that year. They were replaced by Kitchener's army, who only had received basic training and were not risked much in action in 1915, or in 1916 until the Somme where they suffered terrible casualties. The Anzac units I give an extra 0.5 to for their attacking stats. Basically, at the moment I have 3 bands of infantry - Germany - France/UK/Serbia - Austria-Hungary/Russia and the rest. I am experimenting with the A-H army by adding "Colonial Corps" with weaker stats to represent disgruntled national minorities.



I would say it is hard to argue the Germans overall were better infantry than the British or the French. The Germans did in WWI what they did in WWII, which was put a lot of effort into their elite formations while shorting everyone else. This worked better in WWI because the nature of trench warfare allowed them to make up for deficiencies in infantry with fortifications and made it harder to identify where their high quality formations were located, but once their elite infantry had finally been expended their army fell apart (just as it started to in WWII when that initial core Panzerwaffe force was attritted in Barbarossa and then destroyed at Stalingrad). The British and French had much more even quality overall by 1916 then the Germans did, and once the German elite formations had been broken it wasn't simply "Ludendorff losing his nerve" that caused the German collapse. The way you represent this isn't by making German units better then everyone else, but by giving them some "shock" or "guards" corps the same way the British get Anzacs. Make them pricey.

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RE: Infantry - rated out of 10 for each nation - 4/7/2021 9:10:10 PM   
Chernobyl

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: stockwellpete
Austria-Hungary 5
Italy 5
Bulgaria 4


How do you figure this? I would rate Italy lower. Perhaps the Italians had access to more artillery than Bulgarian troops?

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RE: Infantry - rated out of 10 for each nation - 4/8/2021 9:15:25 AM   
stockwellpete

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: Chernobyl

quote:

ORIGINAL: stockwellpete
Austria-Hungary 5
Italy 5
Bulgaria 4


How do you figure this? I would rate Italy lower. Perhaps the Italians had access to more artillery than Bulgarian troops?


It was just a rough estimate. I haven't done a detailed comparative study between these armies. The German and Hungarian regiments of the Austro-Hungarian army seemed to have been reasonable enough, whereas some of the regiments made up of national minorities were poor. The Italians lost thousands and thousands of men on the Isonzo front, but fought resolutely in the mountains. I am not really sure about the Bulgarians at all, to be honest, but their performance in the Balkan Wars just before 1914 was not much to get excited about.

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RE: Infantry - rated out of 10 for each nation - 4/8/2021 9:40:04 AM   
stockwellpete

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: lwarmonger

I would say it is hard to argue the Germans overall were better infantry than the British or the French. The Germans did in WWI what they did in WWII, which was put a lot of effort into their elite formations while shorting everyone else. This worked better in WWI because the nature of trench warfare allowed them to make up for deficiencies in infantry with fortifications and made it harder to identify where their high quality formations were located, but once their elite infantry had finally been expended their army fell apart (just as it started to in WWII when that initial core Panzerwaffe force was attritted in Barbarossa and then destroyed at Stalingrad). The British and French had much more even quality overall by 1916 then the Germans did, and once the German elite formations had been broken it wasn't simply "Ludendorff losing his nerve" that caused the German collapse. The way you represent this isn't by making German units better then everyone else, but by giving them some "shock" or "guards" corps the same way the British get Anzacs. Make them pricey.


One of the things that is making me think a bit differently from you about this is the documentary series by Peter Barton . .

https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/b07lst9b/the-somme-1916-from-both-sides-of-the-wire

In it he talks about a very interesting difference between the German army and their opponents concerning their military culture. Paradoxically, it seems to have been more democratic and self-critical than either the British or French. This might seem strange given that German society was less democratic than either country, the Reichstag having about as much impact on the war as the ludicrous Russian Duma. But German military officers at all levels were required to submit reports on their actions and be self-critical about the army’s performance as well. This helped them to develop new tactics as the war progressed. It is also one of the reasons, according to Barton, that there were far less executions for “cowardice” in the German army. The soldiers felt that they had some input, whereas the French and British army were relatively more authoritarian in their culture.

The other thing is, the German elite formations consisted of an increasingly significant part of their army by the last year of the war. According to David Stevenson in "1914-18" (p400) Ludendorf selected about a quarter of his army to be "attack divisions" in 1918, which was getting on for 1 million soldiers. They had specialised training, modern equipment and most had had a relatively quiet 1917. The poorer German units were left on the Eastern Front after Russia had been knocked out of the war. And they did completely smash through the Entente lines in 1918, only to succumb to logistical difficulties and the impact of Spanish flu.


< Message edited by stockwellpete -- 4/8/2021 9:41:42 AM >

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RE: Infantry - rated out of 10 for each nation - 4/8/2021 3:20:33 PM   
The Land

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: stockwellpete


In it he talks about a very interesting difference between the German army and their opponents concerning their military culture. Paradoxically, it seems to have been more democratic and self-critical than either the British or French. This might seem strange given that German society was less democratic than either country, the Reichstag having about as much impact on the war as the ludicrous Russian Duma. But German military officers at all levels were required to submit reports on their actions and be self-critical about the army’s performance as well. This helped them to develop new tactics as the war progressed. It is also one of the reasons, according to Barton, that there were far less executions for “cowardice” in the German army. The soldiers felt that they had some input, whereas the French and British army were relatively more authoritarian in their culture.



I think it's a common view these days thanks to some very influential work by I think it was Trevor Dupuy, that German infantry was just better in WW2 thanks to factors like 'mission command' orders where responsibility was delegated to a much lower level than it was in other militaries, better skilled junior officers and NCOs, and more of a culture of reflection and learning.

Much of this also applies to WW1. Also, very much related to WW1, is the observation that the French thought that modern warfare was inherently terrifying and the aim of command was to keep soldiers in line in spite of those terrors, while the German command thought man was a natural pack hunter and the role of command was to channel his natural hunting instincts.

However, none of this is absolutely clear-cut... I've read sources about Britain that suggest that the 'New Army' of 1916 had more effective sub-unit leadership than the original BEF, because the corporals and sergeants had held responsible jobs in civil life and were able to solve their own problems. And the British Army *did* reflect and learn as the war went on; British tactics in 1917-18 were completely different from those of 1914, and probably almost as effective at infiltration tactics as the Germans were in 1918.


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RE: Infantry - rated out of 10 for each nation - 4/9/2021 4:28:05 AM   
shri

 

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The biggest reason for the far better performance of the German army in WW1 as compared to others was their 1915 and then 1917 reorganisations, the 1917 re-organisation mostly stood the same in WW2 and in the modern era also (except addition of AT/AA guns/missiles). The infantry platoons/squads from 1915 onwards were centered around the MGs rather than the rifles, further artillery was very well integrated into the battalions.

http://www.worldwar1.com/sfgermreorg.htm#:~:text=Reorganization%20of%201917%3A&text=By%20January%201917%2C%20the%20army,men%2C%20divided%20into%204%20squads.

this link from this http://www.worldwar1.com/index.htm carries some of the changes made.

The MG centered platoons, combined with defense in depth from 1916 and bruchmuller and stormtrooper tactics in 1917 gave birth to modern infantry tactics which weren't incorporated by other armies in ww1 (except the British with respect to artillery).

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RE: Infantry - rated out of 10 for each nation - 4/9/2021 10:17:45 AM   
Jazon


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Hi guys,
I guess without giving my own rating there are two more factors that should be taken into consideration for estimating infantry performance ratio. One thing is overall physical condition of the conscripts - their health, and capabilities. For instance: poorer societies "human material" were poorer. Before great war average German male, from working class was in better shape than for example Russian one - working and living conditions in Germany were better - so conscripts were better material to forge effective fighting force. Many British males at the era, especially from working class suffered malnutrition and other diseases. Also their average height were actually below official British Army requirements - After losses during wartime British needed to lower the physical requirements for new recruits. Not mentioning Russian Army, which also had these kind of issues.
The other thing I would consider is literacy level of the society. Literate society gives more "material" for NCOs and also make advanced training for troops easier - just because they can read what they need to know, also its easier to command literate conscripts.
That's just my two thoughts about that, and both this factors acts in favor of the Germans.

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RE: Infantry - rated out of 10 for each nation - 4/9/2021 1:33:31 PM   
The Land

 

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quote:


The MG centered platoons, combined with defense in depth from 1916 and bruchmuller and stormtrooper tactics in 1917 gave birth to modern infantry tactics which weren't incorporated by other armies in ww1 (except the British with respect to artillery).



Yeah, this is the bit that isn't really true. The British Army used tactics that are recognisably 'stormtrooper' in 1918: maneuver in sections and half-sections, infiltrating forwards using terrain features, screening and bypassing strongpoints, low-level fire support from grenades and rifle grenades (in every section), machine guns (in every platoon), and trench mortars.

When I have bookshelves on which to put my books, I'll dig out the references..


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