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The Officer's Mess - The place for baiting and taunting the other teams

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  • I agree that knowing the historical battle plans really helped the Allies out in France. That took longer than we really had.

    The 'chain breaker' which I agree was necessary, hinged on the Soviet Union playing its cards close to the vest. Would the real Stalin have jumped into the fray so soon, maybe....maybe not.

    Had the Soviets not jumped in and forced us to put powerful units on the defense there, I'm moderately confident that we could have broken through the Allied lines and gotten out of Turkey. Would have still been a hard fight, but 3-6 more months of Russian inactivity would have given us the vital window to get the first divisions into the Levant.

    And that was the kicker IMHO. If we had been able to get a single supplied railway into Syria, we could have poured Panzer, Panzer Grenadier, and SS Panzer Divisions into the Levant without the hard caps on our numbers like we had in North Africa. Had the N. Africa logistics rules not been strictly enforced, we could have put another armored corps there, and been able to 'barely' make the breakthrough. Since that wasn't possible, we had to have a second way into the region, one that did not rely on those restrictive rules. A single railway would have done it, and we could have taken that theater before the US got into the war.

    As I've said before, and in this game I believe it was the hinge factor as well, Germany must Take North Africa and the Levant. With all of that under their control, they can put heavy defenses to the West and keep the Allies from breaking into the Med. for a long time, perhaps indefinitely. Without N. Africa and the Levant, Germany is doomed to fight on 2-3 fronts for the whole war.......
    Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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    • Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
      The game is set up to run the historical course, and France went on for 6 months instead of 6 weeks because the Allies were better than their historical counterparts, and because hindsight helps the allies more than the axis.
      That was balanced by the ahistorical and early conquest of Yugoslavia.

      Thanks to all who participated. I enjoyed watching this.

      It appeared to me that the German side put too much effort into expanding the mobile ground forces and not enough into keeping the UK busy. No amphibious points meant that the UK could use its entire army in the med and none were needed to garrison the UK. Too few subs meant that the allies got their reinforcements sooner. IIRC they were 6 months early at one point.

      The Russian airforce seemed ahistorically small. Was this a result of no total war and production being diverted to the ground units?

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      • And without a Dunkirk the Brits were also able to extract more intact divisions.

        Our general logic behind not pressing for amphib points is that we could never seriously use them. Unlike the OTL, we recognized that, and instead went for more ground forces in a bid to be able to win the ground war.

        Without turkey being in the war, we could have probably done a bit better, but that's assuming that we're going to lose and it's a matter of making the enemy pay as much as possible.

        Maybe more numbers of Infantry Divisions would have given us the edge in defensive combat that we needed to hold out longer, but that again would be conceding the war before we started....
        Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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        • Yep,... The Red air force was a bare minimum. All the procudtion from late 42 went into heavy armour and artillery as well as upgrading the infantry.

          The three salient points that effected the German startegy were:

          1) No amphibs; this meant no credible threat to England.

          2) Balkan Folly - The Britsh *just* managed to get a corps into the mountains of central Greece and hold the line for most of 1941. Despite concerted German efforts the Germans could not clear the mountan passes in time and the losses were almost Verdun-like.

          3) Turkish bottleneck - the single rail line and, more importantly, the mountainous terrain made quick movement almost impossible. The terrain is almost the same as Italy except for the spine of Alpine mountains down the centre. River lines in rough terrain,... it was the Rapido/Cassino writ large.

          Turning Points

          The two main turning points in the war that lead to an early German defeat were:

          1) The cancellation of the German drive in Turkey in 1942. However, due to fog of war this was not apparent at the time. The fact is that when the Allies collapsed in Turkey the road to Syria was effectively open. More than 1/2 the Turkish army was wrecked and what remained was battered and exhausted. The British were still in the midst of a very hard fought Tunisian campaign and, quite literally, did not have a brigade to spare without weakening one sector or another. The Red Army units Turkey were a paper-tiger,... they looked menacing but had no depth and no reserves (see below). When the order came down to withdraw,... my jaw dropped.

          This doesn't mean that the Germans may have reached Sinai via Syria but the halt order was a shock. A curious "what if".

          Fog of war,... go figure.

          2) Failure to press a clear advantage in Russia in the summer of 42. Again, fog of war here hid the true scope of the looming disaster that was facing the USSR. The USSRs attack in 1941 and resulting "Limited War" staus severly effected Red Army expansion in 1941 and 1942. In 6/42 the Germans launched an offensive in the north that advanced from Tilsit to Riga and the Dvina and then to Mogilev led by the first SS Pz units and army Pz Gr diivisions. Supported by strong LW forces they were crushing the main strength of the Red Army. This attack was joined a few weeks later by a smaller version west of Kiev that pinned local forces and ate further into limited reserves painfully built up by STAVKA.

          Had the Germans pressed their advanatage and triggered total war by taking Kiev or Riga they would have triggered the historical economic crippling of Russian production that would take 5-6 month to repair. Combine this with the fact the Red Army's back was all but broken and the Germans may found themselves able to advance deep into central and southern Russia. At one point it was contemplated to withdraw the Red Army in Turkey for its few good corps and handful of AT bdes. As above "fog of war" did not make this evident since the Germans could not see all the Russian pieces on the map (as in most games).

          However, the very public announcement by OKW to all involved that they were not going to trigger total war instantly removed the pressure on the Russians. The German attacks slowed and then halted and the assault troops moved into reserve.

          Again,... this is due to fog of war and not knowing what was going on in the enemy camp except what limited intellwould provide.

          The Failure of Elastic Defence

          On STAVKA's part the decision was made to shift from defensive production to offensive production. Where production once centred on infantry and AT units with light armour in support, it now changed to armour and artillery. Infantry divisions were vacuumed up to create rifle corps, rifle corps reduced in battle were converted to guard corps. Tank and mech bdes were produced solely for conversion to corps and few artillery corps were squeezed out every two or three months. It took nearly 15 months to make the transition but by late 1943 the Red Army began its first series of heavy but local offensives.

          OKW tried to invoke a form of elastic defence and while this did save many German units from damage, it surrendered territory in an already too shallow defensive zone in the east. In early winter of 43-44 the few breakthroughs were able to gain ground the Germans could not afford to lose. The retreat into central Poland also allowed the much smaller (historically) Red Army to advance with little loss while at the same time concentrating its strength north of the Carpathians. Once the artillery arrived at the front in concentrated numbers the German line crumbled under successive pounding.

          Summary

          The failure in Greece and Turkey added some 45 divisions to the Allied strength (including the Yugoslav partisan divisions) and while these were of limited comabt value they could spare better equipped CW and US divisions to do the fighting. This opening up of a "Third Front" (Africa/Italy being the second), robbed the eastern front of its reserves and the strength with which it needed to stalemate the Red Army. The poor luck with the U-Boat war and the advanced Allied reinfocements made an early Torch and Italy possible and the German position in the west began to slowly unravel.

          Turkey is not a viable option IMO due to the single rail line, the terrain and the problems with supplies. Too many choke points and the defender can bog an attacker down with fewer numbers,... it is the Rapido/Cassino writ large.

          This was the first moderated game I've done with the computer version and "Fog of War". As an observer (and GM) Fog of War is a powerful influence on the psyches of the players. All three teams made assumptions about what the situation appeared to be and none turned out to be (entirely) accurate. The Allied team expected to advance much quicker through the Balkans than they did just as the Russians thought a breakthrough was always imminent. OKW was always of the opinion that they were stronger than they were and that their forces were capable of an operational flexibility that it simply did not have.

          All very illuminating. and fun to watch

          Cheers.
          The Purist

          Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

          Comment


          • Well done everyone! Particularly Purist... wrapped up the game in only a couple of years in the end. :-)

            My own thoughts are basically....

            German team - did you really expect Russia not to intervene once you'd invaded Turkey? Or were you really hoping to beat the Allies completely in the Med and sit tight from there regardess of what the USSR could do?

            Our logic was basically that if you were determined to force a war on two fronts then we might as well start one of the fronts in the middle of Turkey, rather than in Georgia, at a time of our choosing rather than your choosing.

            Plus, of course, this is a wargame not a war - and there's not much value to staying at peace in a wargame!
            My board games blog: The Brass Castle

            Comment


            • Originally posted by The Purist View Post
              The Failure of Elastic Defence

              OKW tried to invoke a form of elastic defence and while this did save many German units from damage, it surrendered territory in an already too shallow defensive zone in the east. In early winter of 43-44 the few breakthroughs were able to gain ground the Germans could not afford to lose. The retreat into central Poland also allowed the much smaller (historically) Red Army to advance with little loss while at the same time concentrating its strength north of the Carpathians. Once the artillery arrived at the front in concentrated numbers the German line crumbled under successive pounding
              I did notice this a bit as we went along - the Germans were happy to give up ground even when they didn't have much ground to give up.

              Also, since the Red Army has worse logistics and worse units one-for-one, I would imagine that a shorter front benefited our side - on a longer front the sudden appearance of a Panzer Army would have been more of an issue.
              My board games blog: The Brass Castle

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              • Originally posted by The Land View Post
                German team - did you really expect Russia not to intervene once you'd invaded Turkey? Or were you really hoping to beat the Allies completely in the Med and sit tight from there regardess of what the USSR could do?
                Well, there was a certain key bit of information that would have helped A LOT-

                Had the Germans pressed their advanatage and triggered total war by taking Kiev or Riga they would have triggered the historical economic crippling of Russian production that would take 5-6 month to repair.

                If I had known that, I would have said skrew Limited war and gone for broke.
                Regardless, I will only play this game as an Allied player if it ever comes up again. As the German player, I never knew hwo many allied amphib points were being built, but they knew all about ours.


                Thanks for the summary Purist, glad I stuck it out to the end!
                Last edited by The Exorcist; 12 Apr 11, 02:12.
                "Why is the Rum gone?"

                -Captain Jack

                Comment


                • Originally posted by Exorcist View Post

                  If I had known that, I would have said skrew Limited war and gone for broke.
                  Regardless, I will only play this game as an Allied player if it ever comes up again. As the German player, I never knew hwo many allied amphib points were being built, but they knew all about ours.
                  Now that's a lie, Purist clearly states the numbers in your OKW thread.



                  Knowing you had none though meant that the only thing we kept in UK was offensive reserves and some ad hoc defenders.
                  Wisdom is personal

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                  • Originally posted by Exorcist View Post
                    Well, there was a certain key bit of information that would have helped A LOT-...
                    Actually you would have had to have known two things:

                    1) the potential for economic disruption if total war was triggered (I assumed tsar took this into account in holding back since he does know the game)

                    and,

                    2) that the Red Army was badly battered and had exhausted its reserves in late summer of 1942.

                    I believe number two is the salient point, simply triggering total war would not have been to Germany's interest.
                    The Purist

                    Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

                    Comment


                    • Being an observer on the German side most of the time with peek at the other pages when lags occurred in the game I was not able to tell how close it was. I guessing that was from lack of knowlege of the game. I do agree with Purist I went WTF when the German called off the push in Turkey. My question would be this if Turkey is pushed out of the Game would of that been worth the cost. I am just wondering since I only played the demo and read the rules. It seemed to me that increase in number of Unit the allies had because of Turkey would of made pushing turkey out of the game worth it.


                      Would the production of a few more paratrooper units of been worth it for the German. A few times it seemed a good paratrooper drop would of broken the back of the allies in either greece or turkey.

                      Comment


                      • If it is obvious that the Fog of War hampered everyones judgement at crucial times then it is obvious everyone was acting in a gentlemanly conduct. That in itself is fantastic and I congratulate every player involved.

                        However, first congrats to The Purist for running the game.
                        How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: http://grist.org/series/skeptics/
                        Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

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                        • Originally posted by craven
                          ...Would the production of a few more paratrooper units of been worth it for the German. A few times it seemed a good paratrooper drop would of broken the back of the allies in either greece or turkey.
                          Paras are quite expensive since they need both the unit and the transport. The Germans were also faced with the problem that in late 1942 they were racing to crank out as much infantry and infantry replacements as possible. The nine SS pz divisions were nice but they cost almost as much as three infantry divisions. Late 1942 also saw the demise of the LW in the Med as the US and British air forces began to overtake it in numbers.

                          In hindsight, yes, a few extra parachute regiments might have helped but,...
                          The Purist

                          Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by The Purist View Post
                            1) The cancellation of the German drive in Turkey in 1942. However, due to fog of war this was not apparent at the time. The fact is that when the Allies collapsed in Turkey the road to Syria was effectively open. More than 1/2 the Turkish army was wrecked and what remained was battered and exhausted. The British were still in the midst of a very hard fought Tunisian campaign and, quite literally, did not have a brigade to spare without weakening one sector or another. The Red Army units Turkey were a paper-tiger,... they looked menacing but had no depth and no reserves (see below). When the order came down to withdraw,... my jaw dropped.
                            Cheers.
                            When the Allies collapsed? When the ell did that happen? Because I've read through both the Sheaf social groups and the threads and I don't see anywhere when they even looked to be on the verge of going down. If I had thought that they were really on the edge I would have pushed for more in Turkey even If we had lost Tunisia it would still have pinned them down in the Med. But again I never saw any indication that they were even hurting let alone on the edge of collapse.
                            Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy. -- Ernest Benn

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                            • Originally posted by The Land View Post

                              German team - did you really expect Russia not to intervene once you'd invaded Turkey? Or were you really hoping to beat the Allies completely in the Med and sit tight from there regardess of what the USSR could do?
                              That was pretty much my thinking. Russia was far to weak to attack us in 1941. I was expecting (hoping) that they would see it as a chance to build up their army for the inevitable clash in 1942.


                              Originally posted by The Land View Post
                              Our logic was basically that if you were determined to force a war on two fronts then we might as well start one of the fronts in the middle of Turkey, rather than in Georgia, at a time of our choosing rather than your choosing.
                              I wasn't looking to start a 2 front war. I was looking to invade the Middle East without the restrictions on our logistics. After we won in Africa I was going to be more then happy to sit behind defensive lines and not bother you at all.
                              I figured if one of us was going to declare war it was better to have you do it since that would offset our DoW on Turkey.
                              Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy. -- Ernest Benn

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                              • Originally posted by The Purist View Post
                                Actually you would have had to have known two things:

                                1) the potential for economic disruption if total war was triggered (I assumed tsar took this into account in holding back since he does know the game)
                                I'm not sure the game would have done an economic collapse at that point. I think it has to be done within a certain very short time and it might not even happen if the USSR starts the war against Germany (I've never had that happen in the computer game so I'm not sure).
                                Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedy. -- Ernest Benn

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