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Operation Narwhal - Analysis thread

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  • Operation Narwhal - Analysis thread

    So the Operation Narwhal game comes to a conclusion with the surrender of the remaining German forces in England after 45 days of game time, played out over 3 and a half months.

    Most of the information is recorded in the two game threads and they still make quite interesting reading.
    http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...ad.php?t=99391
    http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forum...ad.php?t=99391

    I enjoyed running the game a lot, it's long been an ambition of mine to do something like this, and thank you very much to the players an the spectators.

    I was not surprised that it ended up with a British victory. It was only really possible for the German team to win in the event that a large chunk of the British Army was destroyed early in the game, which would open up the possibility of a win before the Royal Navy finally closed the Channel. The German peak strength (about 25 divisions, of which 6 Panzer and 3 motorized) was never going to be sufficient to overwhelm the British peak strength (around 20 divisions, all motorised, 2.5 of which armoured) unless the British Army was weakened significantly by a mixture of cunning, good luck and mistakes by the British team.

    As things turned out, there were a number of moments when Panzers were roaring across the open fields of Southern England, but only British division and one independent brigade were encircled or overrun during the course of the game.

    There were a number of reasons why the Germany Army failed to bring off any great blitzkrieg successes:

    1) The British team correctly appreciated that they could play a "long game" and were prepared to sacrifice a lot of territory for time.
    2) The British Army's high level of motorization meant that British infantry formations could normally retreat just as fast as Panzers could advance and could avoid being caught out in unfavourable positions.
    3) The German Army was short on artillery support and this meant more work for the German infantry and armour to break the British front as British entrenchments were still intact.

    The very bold move to take Portsmouth by parachutists on Turn 6 could have been a masterstroke and this might have turned out very differently. Two factors were crucial in the failure of this manoeuvre. Firstly, the two divisions left flank of the German landing on Turn 7 to follow this up were sunk in the Channel. Second, the British team mounted a prompt and thorough counterattack against German-held Portsmouth using their armoured reserve. (If two divisions had landed near Bournemouth, as intended, that armoured counterattack would have been a much greater risk to take).

    The reverse the German team suffered at Portsmouth on turns 7-8 cost them two full divisions, one panzer and one fallschirmjaeger, but more importantly meant that their amphibious thrust was diverted to Sussex where it was only of tactical significance.

    I will post more thoughts later on, but what do you guys think?

    I will also do a post detailing in which areas the setup was historical and which areas it was ahistorica.
    My board games blog: The Brass Castle

  • #2
    Moar Game! Methinks the Germans want a re-match!

    It was good, I think the LW and KM exceeded expectations considering British eventual superiority in the theaters in which they operated, And I agree, had Portsmouth been pulled off the game would have been as good as won, after it was as good as lost.
    Task Force Regenbogen- Support and Paras

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    • #3
      I think The Land summed things up pretty well. Both sides played well and I don't think anyone made any serious mistakes. The success of our landings was purely luck really, and we didn't have very good luck. We lost those 2 divs and after that there really wasn't much of a chance that we we're going to win.
      A wild liberal appears! Conservative uses logical reasoning and empirical evidence! It's super effective! Wild liberal faints.

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      • #4
        Can I congratulate The Land for running this and all who took part for a truly excellent game!

        I'm surprised that the Germans held on for as long as they did; the historical analyses suggest a quick defeat for the operation that shall not be named.

        It's worth noting that the Germans never really crossed the "M25" (the 1980s built London ring-road) line to get into London, apart from the brief assault in Turn 45 that was swiftly repelled.

        Taking London would make Berlin in 1945 look like a cakewalk; it's over 30 miles across, has a large underground railway system, narrow streets, a not easily pontoon-able river running through it and a population twice that of Berlin.
        Last edited by Silent Hunter; 30 Jan 11, 07:30. Reason: Correction about London
        Silent Hunter UK
        Member of Phoenix Roleplaying

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        • #5
          Yes, thanks for running that one, but I'll be on the other side if there is ever another one of these!

          And just do you know, Comrade O, there was nothing left of the KM, except for 2-3 DDs trapped in Portsmouth.
          "Why is the Rum gone?"

          -Captain Jack

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          • #6
            The biggest problem I found was the use of the Luftwaffe. It was our ace card but could only be effective against either the enemy army or navy.

            We held on so long because we kept the RN at bay using said arm. It meant we could not support our army in the way they would normally be expected to be. In fact it was our lack of strength in this area that perhaps lost us this campaign, as it compensated our land forces for its lack of artillery. This is probably why the campaign took the same direction, but longer, than most scenarios I know.

            Air superiority may not win you the war, but lack of it may cost you it.

            Still our enemy did was was usually correct at the right time, so no general faults with their strategy .
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            • #7
              I had a great time stressing about how to keep our opponents from taking London.

              I think it was well played on both sides.

              I heartily thank The Land for hosting this game it was excellently done!

              I'd happily play a reverse of teams if everyone is interested.

              BoRG
              "... and that was the last time they called me Freakboy Moses"

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              • #8
                Honestly right up until the counter offensive on our right flank I was worried about our lack of ability to stop the Germans.
                However once we brought the Med squadron up and used the RAF as cover to sink the last of the KM I knew that we would win.
                At that point the more the Werhmact attacked the faster they burned up their supplies and the faster we would be able to counter attack and win.
                This was one reason I was willing to bring over the Ireland garrison. All or nothing at that point.

                Congratulations on a well run and played game to one and all.
                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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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Dashy View Post
                  Moar Game! Methinks the Germans want a re-match!

                  It was good, I think the LW and KM exceeded expectations considering British eventual superiority in the theaters in which they operated, And I agree, had Portsmouth been pulled off the game would have been as good as won, after it was as good as lost.
                  It would have just prompted us to bring up the ships from the Med and the troops from Ireland sooner. The results would have been the same in the end.
                  Without control of the sea you could not be supplied and thus your troops, however successful, where doomed.
                  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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                  • #10
                    but had the med force come earlier, we would have still had Air superiority ....
                    Task Force Regenbogen- Support and Paras

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Dashy View Post
                      but had the med force come earlier, we would have still had Air superiority ....
                      Yes, but it wouldn't have mattered if in the end we lost all of our navy except 1 ship, as long as you lost all of yours.
                      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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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Arthwys View Post

                        I'd happily play a reverse of teams if everyone is interested.

                        might be interesting... the land?
                        Propaganda is to a democracy what the bludgeon is to a totalitarian state.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Silent Hunter View Post
                          Can I congratulate The Land for running this and all who took part for a truly excellent game!
                          thank you :-)

                          Taking London would make Berlin in 1945 look like a cakewalk; it's over 30 miles across, has a large underground railway system, narrow streets, a not easily pontoon-able river running through it and a population twice that of Berlin.
                          It would certainly have been very problematic - the British front around London was in fact only a single-division line, but there is little doubt that if the Germans had shown any sign of attacking then more British troops would have turned up very shortly and occupied prepared defensive positions which stretched all the way through London. The Germans (lacking the artillery that the Russians could bring to bear in 1945) would have had to push through continual fortified positions 3 hexes deep, which would have taken several weeks at great cost.

                          Originally posted by Nick the Noodle
                          The biggest problem I found was the use of the Luftwaffe. It was our ace card but could only be effective against either the enemy army or navy.
                          I noticed this as well. In discussions about Sealion on forms like this one, you often see people taking the "German" side saying that, whatever the problem, the Luftwaffe would sort it out. However, the Luftwaffe can't be everywhere all the time. In particular, the Stukas - which were the most effective anti-fortification and anti-tank unit, as well as being most effective in an anti-ship role - can't be everywhere all the time.

                          Equally, people taking the British point of view often say that whatever the Germans were doing, the Royal Navy would stop them. In this game there were plenty of occasions where the RN ended up retreating to lick its wounds even when it had quite significant strength still on hand...
                          My board games blog: The Brass Castle

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Comrade|Ogilvy View Post
                            might be interesting... the land?
                            tempting but I don't think I have time to commit to it, I'm afraid!

                            Happy to provide the scenario file and my notes on the house rules (of which there are many) if a volunteer can be found.
                            My board games blog: The Brass Castle

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by The Land View Post
                              In discussions about Sealion on forms like this one, you often see people taking the "German" side saying that, whatever the problem, the Luftwaffe would sort it out. However, the Luftwaffe can't be everywhere all the time. In particular, the Stukas - which were the most effective anti-fortification and anti-tank unit, as well as being most effective in an anti-ship role - can't be everywhere all the time.

                              Equally, people taking the British point of view often say that whatever the Germans were doing, the Royal Navy would stop them. In this game there were plenty of occasions where the RN ended up retreating to lick its wounds even when it had quite significant strength still on hand...
                              The reason the RN had a hard time is because I guessed it would be our most dangerous adversary, hence it was prioritized as the target for the LW. However, the lack of support for the army obviously blunted any land based offensives.

                              My plan was fairly simple. Keep the Brits thinking London was the main target, while heading west from Kent to Bristol. Then break a strung out enemy at one point and unleash the Panzers north to take Manchester and Leeds. With LW support they may have achieved this, but they had to be busy elsewhere. On reflection I think the attack on Portsmouth was a bad idea, and we should have concentrated our forces first. Either that or perhaps attacked Portsmouth first, which was suggested. We will never know for sure .
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                              Global Warming & Climate Change Myths: https://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php

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